• This morning, without even waiting for a compromise deal to pass both the House and the Senate, President Obama was already ridiculing Republicans. Congratulating himself, he took credit for breaking the Republican Party’s longstanding pledge to oppose tax increases: “[This is] one of the most consequential policy achievements of the last couple of decades.”
• Yesterday, before the Senate had worked out its own deal early this morning, the president held what “had the feel of a campaign event” complete with cheering “middle class workers”. During the event, Obama “took shots at Congress and Republicans” and issued “a stern warning to the GOP” that he would not tolerate any spending cuts.
• And before the deal was signed, Obama “gloated that if Republicans accepted this deal it would amount to a surrender on taxes” in a move that seemed “designed to sabotage a deal he allegedly wanted.”
As Robert Samuelson wrote in today’s Washington Post:
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office puts it this way: “…the United States cannot sustain the federal spending programs that are now in place with the federal taxes (as a share of GDP) that it has been accustomed to paying.”
Until Obama conspicuously and consistently acknowledges these realities in straightforward and unmistakable language — something he hasn’t done and shows no signs of doing — he cannot be said to be dealing honestly with the budget or with the American people. The main reason that we keep having these destructive and inconclusive budget confrontations is not simply that many Republicans have been intransigent on taxes. The larger cause is that Obama refuses to concede that Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are driving future spending and deficits. So when Republicans make concessions on taxes (as they have), they get little in return. Naturally, this poisons the negotiating climate.
Obama wants the country to go over the fiscal cliff. He wants the deficit to reach 200 percent of GDP (the course it’s on), which means a certain economic collapse.
He wants these things.
How else can he foment a crisis (“Never let a crisis go to waste”, in the words of his former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel) and “fundamentally transform America” (in his own words)?
I believe we have a very troubled individual running things. And what is even more troubling is the fact that about 50 percent of American voters have no earthly idea where’s he’s taking us. Nor do they care.
By Donald Sensing
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither told CNBC Wednesday that Republicans are “making a little bit of progress” in “fiscal cliff” talks but said the Obama administration was “absolutely” ready to go over the cliff if the GOP doesn’t agree to raise tax rates on the wealthy.
“I think they’re making a little bit of progress,” Geithner said. “They’re clearly moving and figuring out how to try to move further.”
But Geithner said the White House would “absolutely” go over the fiscal cliff — triggering over $600 billion in automatic spending cuts and tax increases — unless tax rates increase on the top 2 percent of wage earners.