President Obama said today even if a fiscal cliff deal is agreed to, the rich and the Republicans are not off the hook. He will ask them to pay even more in any future deficit deal.
Video from NBC News:
Obama said preventing the tax hike on the middle class is his strongest priority. The president said that an agreement is, “within sight, but it’s not done.” The president emphasized to members of both parties that this is a pressing concern. Obama said tax credits for tuition, clean energy would be extended along with unemployment benefits, and avoiding the middle class tax hike.
The president said that he would have rather have a balanced approach, but with this Congress it was a little too much to hope for at this time. Obama said the agreement would ask the top two percent to pay a higher level of taxes. The president rubbed a little salt in the House Republican wound by reminding them of how they said they would never raise taxes on the wealthy, but with this deal the rates on rich would be permanently raised.
Obama also discussed how the sequester cuts would impact everything from defense to Head Start. He stressed that revenues will part of the equation in turning off the sequester. The president said that he is willing do more, but it has to be balanced. He wants to reduce Medicare spending by finding ways to lower healthcare spending, but that has to be balanced with more revenue by closing loopholes for the wealthy.
The president said that if Republicans think that he will only reduce the deficit with spending cuts after today, “they’ve got another thing coming.” Obama said as long as he is president the deficit will be reduced through shared sacrifice. (Obama sent the message that the rich and corporations aren’t off the hook after today.)
The president closed by telling people to keep the pressure on, and wished everyone a Happy New Year.
It looks like the president is set to get exactly what he wanted if this deal goes through. Actually, he would be getting more than many expected. If the president gets the extension of the tuition tax credit, the clean energy tax credit, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a tax hike on the top two percent, this will be a huge win for him.
If he had to bump the income threshold up to $400,000 to get all of this, it will be well worth it.
Remember that Republicans have sworn for years that they would never raise taxes on the wealthy. They based their entire run for the presidency in 2012 on a vow to not raise taxes on anyone. All of this will have gone up in smoke, plus they will have given the president a laundry of things that he wants.
I still have doubts about whether or not any deal that is crafted by the Senate and the White House will pass the House, but we’ll probably have our answer to that later tonight.
It is beginning to look like this could turn out to be one very Happy New Year for President Barack Obama.