President Obama doesn’t take mulligans when he plays golf. The same cannot be said for the way he governs. Just weeks after negotiations over the debt limit hobbled the nation and his presidency, Obama appeared in the Rose Garden on Monday to do what he had not done before: He laid out a specific plan for deficit reductions, including more than $1 trillion in new taxes, and promised to veto any plan that cut entitlements without raising taxes on wealthier Americans and corporations.
In place of general statements about “balance” and “compromise,” Obama proposed $310 billion in new cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other health programs, $270 billion in other cuts and reforms, and $1.5 trillion in new tax revenue that Obama said would be borne mainly by the wealthiest Americans and corporations. The President spent much of July publicly minimizing the differences between himself and Republican House Speaker John Boehner as he chased after an elusive “grand bargain” on deficit reduction. But now he described a sharp contrast, and offered two ultimatums: First, the promise to allow all the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 if Congress cannot reach a tax reform agreement, and secondly, a promise to veto any bill that takes a dime from Medicare beneficiaries without raising taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.
“Middle class families should not pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires,” Obama said, laying out a message that will likely carry him through next year’s election. “That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that.”
It was a speech designed to shift the debate over spending and taxation onto Democratic turf, away from the debate on spending toward a debate on what is fair for the middle class. “Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that,” he continued, “anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness, explain why somebody who’s making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15% on their taxes when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that, paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for that.”
Obama went so far as to name names, calling out his old negotiating partner, Boehner, for laying down his own iron clad marker, by promising not to raise taxes. “The Speaker says we can’t have it ‘My way or the highway’ and then basically says ‘My way or the highway,’” Obama said. “That’s not smart. It’s not right.”"
— JON STEWART, on the media’s (and, admittedly, the blogosphere’s) obsession with “Speechgate,” “Speech Spat” and all the other “Tales of Manufactured Conflict,” on The Daily Show. (via inothernews)
I would urge everyone to take a moment and consider just who you voted for (most likely for a second, third, fourth… time) in the previous election while complaining about the current, absolute cluster-fuck of childishness that has been business-as-usual in Washington D.C. for, oh I don’t know, the last bunch of years.
Everyone who is there was put there by us. Time to hold them and ourselves accountable for our own decisions.
The challenge, really, has to do with the seeming inability, particularly in the House of Representatives, to arrive at any position that compromises any of their ideological preferences, None. I have gone out of my way to make compromises.
…Can they say yes to anything? It’s the Republican Party that has said that the single most important thing facing our country is deficits and debts. If their only answer is what they have presented, which is a package that would effectively require massive cuts — if that’s their only answer, then it’s going to be pretty difficult for us to figure out where to go."
President BARACK OBAMA, on the unwillingness of House Republicans to compromise — even if it means preventing the country from going into default — during a White House presser earlier today. Obama said Speaker John Boehner “walked out” of negotiations, because God forbid they raise taxes on the motherfucking rich.
The biggest culprit, by far, has been an erosion of tax revenue triggered largely by two recessions and multiple rounds of tax cuts. Together, the economy and the tax bills enacted under former president George W. Bush, and to a lesser extent by President Obama, wiped out $6.3 trillion in anticipated revenue. That’s nearly half of the $12.7 trillion swing from projected surpluses to real debt. Federal tax collections now stand at their lowest level as a percentage of the economy in 60 years."