Conservative media are falsely criticizing President Obama for taking an "absolutist line" on deficit reduction and refusing to compromise in order to reduce the deficit. In fact, Obama has proposed far more spending cuts than revenue increases, a position that is to the right of many deficit plans with more tax increases.
Conservative Media Claim Obama Is Taking "An Absolutist Line" On Budget And Taxes
WSJ: Obama Is "Taking An Absolutist Line" For The Sake Of His "Left Wing For Which Higher Tax Rates Are A Secular Religion." A Wall Street Journal editorial accused Obama of "taking an absolutist line" on deficit reduction and pandering to "his left wing for which higher tax rates are a secular religion":
By taking an absolutist line, he's basically gambling that Republicans will be more reasonable than he is and will blink. But if they don't blink and we go over the cliff, from his point of view so what? Mr. Obama then has an excuse to blame Republicans if there's another recession. Meanwhile, he pockets the higher tax rates that take effect on January 1 anyway, and he can then negotiate a budget deal next year without having to make any tax concessions.
He pleases his left wing for which higher tax rates are a secular religion, while pinning one more defeat on Republicans. Lest you think this is a conservative fantasy, it's more or less the tax cliff strategy that Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington advocated on Sunday on ABC's "This Week" and that labor leaders lobbied for at the White House on Tuesday. [The Wall Street Journal, 11/14/12]
Fox's Gutfeld: Obama Says He's "Open To Compromise Unless You Don't Agree With [Him] On Raising Taxes. That's Not A Compromise." On Fox's The Five, co-host Greg Gutfeld claimed "President Obama said he was open to compromise unless you don't agree with me on raising taxes. That's not a compromise. He cannot explain how raising taxes is good for the economy. He only can explain how it's good for the government. There is a difference." [Fox News, The Five, 11/9/12]
Fox Anchor MacCallum: "Why Does It Seem That Democrats Are So Unwilling To Entertain The Other Possibilities Of Raising Revenues Outside The Tax Hike?" On Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Martha MacCallum asked why "Democrats are so unwilling to entertain" ideas "outside the tax hike":
MARTHA MACCALLUM (anchor): Let's address the revenue side because Republicans are going to argue, Doug, that you can get increased revenues from rich people in other ways. You can take out loopholes and that will increase the revenues that come in. Why does it seem that Democrats are so unwilling to entertain the other possibilities of raising revenues outside the tax hike? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 11/15/12]
Fox's Ingraham Predicts Second-Term Obama Will Be "My Way Or The Highway," That He "Doubles Down On All The Things He Really Wants To Do." On Fox Broadcasting Company's Fox News Sunday, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham claimed that in a second term, Obama will not compromise, claiming "we heard talk of compromise before" but "in the end it was my way or the highway":
LAURA INGRAHAM (Fox contributor): I think the president is going to go full steam ahead with his agenda, which is a socially progressive and very liberal agenda. I think we heard talk of compromise before, Senator, we heard it during healthcare, and in the end it was my way or the highway. He got it the way he wanted it, with very little support. I think we are going to see that again.
EVAN BAYH (Fox contributor): He did extend the Bush tax cuts for a year. So there was some compromise on his part.
INGRAHAM: Well, he had to do that. Even Democrats were obviously urging him to do that this time. But now, in the second term without really any check, I think Obama doubles down on all the things he really wants to do. [Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Sunday, 11/11/12]
Obama's Deficit Plan Includes Far More Spending Cuts Than Other Proposals
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: $2 Trillion Of Deficit Reduction Is Enough To Stabilize The Debt Over The Next Decade. Richard Kogan of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) wrote that the $4 trillion figure for deficit reduction proposals "has assumed something of a life of its own," and that "there is no single magic number" for deficit reduction. He added that "there can be risks in policymakers setting their sights too high. If the political obstacles facing a much larger deficit-reduction package are too great, then insistence on a package that goes well beyond [$2 trillion in deficit reduction] could lead either to failure" or "to a package that provides false security because it is dominated by budget gimmicks that don't actually reduce our long-term deficits but merely appear to do so." [CBPP, 11/1/12]
Progressive Caucus Budget Includes More Revenue Proposals Without Cuts To Medicare Or Social Security Benefits. The Congressional Progressive Caucus released a budget for Fiscal Year 2013 that achieves $6.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a way that "makes no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits." The budget includes a variety of tax increases for high earners, including raising taxes on capital gains and dividends, eliminates fossil fuel subsidies, and invests trillions of dollars in jobs and infrastructure. [Congressional Progressive Caucus, accessed 11/15/12]
Senate Democrats Are Proposing One Dollar Of Spending Cuts For Every Dollar Of Revenue; Obama's Proposed $2.50 In Cuts For Every Dollar Of Revenue. Obama campaign advisor James Kvaal told CNN that the president wanted "a balanced plan that cuts the deficit by $4 trillion with $2.50 worth of spending cuts for every dollar in revenue. Senate Democrats, on the other hand, are circulating a letter which says that "the president should insist on $1 in revenue for each $1 in spending cuts." [CNN, 11/09/12; Politico, 11/14/12]
The American People Agree With Obama On High-Income Taxes
Pew Research Center: Sixty-Four Percent Of Americans Support A Plan To "Raise [The] Tax Rate On Income Over $250,000." Based on a poll taken in early October, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that 64 percent of Americans support raising the tax rate for income above $250,000, with only 29 percent in opposition. Of the 12 policies they polled, raising the tax rate on income above $250,000 was the most popular option. [Pew Research Center, 10/12/12]
Politico: "Six In Ten Voters Nationwide Say They Think Taxes Should Be Increased." Politico reported on the results of exit polls taken on November 6 which found that "almost half of voters said taxes should be boosted on Americans making more than $250,000 per year, and one in seven voters said taxes should be increased on all Americans." They noted the fact that "six in 10 voters nationwide say they think taxes should be increased" is "a welcome stastistic for President Obama," who "stressed the issue of taxes in many campaign ads." [Politico, 11/6/12]
Obama Has Said He's Open To "Ideas From Everybody" On Deficit Reduction
Obama Has Said "With Respect To The Tax Rates" He's "Open To New Ideas." At a press conference, President Obama said "with respect to the tax rates I - I just want to emphasize: I am open to new ideas." He explained that "if the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn't getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth, I'm not going to just slam the door in their face." Obama added "I want to hear ideas from everybody." [The New York Times, 11/14/12]
Obama: "I'm Not Wedded To Every Detail Of My Plan." In remarks made by Obama three days after the election, the president noted that he's "open to compromise" as long as it doesn't hurt middle-class families:
Now, already, I've put forward a detailed plan that allows us to make these investments while reducing our deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade. I want to be clear -- I'm not wedded to every detail of my plan. I'm open to compromise. I'm open to new ideas. I'm committed to solving our fiscal challenges. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn't balanced. I am not going to ask students and seniors and middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me, making over $250,000, aren't asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I'm not going to do that.
And I just want to point out this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach -- and that includes Democrats, independents, and a lot of Republicans across the country, as well as independent economists and budget experts. That's how you reduce the deficit -- with a balanced approach. [The White House, 11/09/12]