POTUS Presser

I didn’t catch the President’s press conference today, and it’s getting mixed reviews on the subject of the Bush tax cuts. Some commenters are saying the President was tough on the subject of upper-income tax cuts, and other commenters are saying he was not tough at all.

I’ve read the transcript of the President’s remarks, and while he appeared open to compromise, he also seemed to be clear that extending the Bush tax cuts for upper-income earners is not on the table. This is from the Q and A:

Q: Mr. President, on the fiscal cliff — two years ago, sir, you said that you wouldn’t extend the Bush-era tax cuts, but at the end of the day, you did. So respectfully, sir, why should the American people and the Republicans believe that you won’t cave again this time?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, two years ago the economy was in a different situation. We were still very much in the early parts of recovering from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And ultimately, we came together, not only to extend the Bush tax cuts, but also a wide range of policies that were going to be good for the economy at the point — unemployment insurance extensions, payroll tax extension — all of which made a difference, and is a part of the reason why what we’ve seen now is 32 consecutive months of job growth, and over 5 1/2 million jobs created, and the unemployment rate coming down.

But what I said at the time is what I meant, which is this was a one-time proposition. And you know, what I have told leaders privately as well as publicly is that we cannot afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. What we can do is make sure that middle-class taxes don’t go up.

Then a bit later:

So there is a package to be shaped, and I’m confident that parties — folks of good will in both parties can make that happen. But what I’m not going to do is to extend Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent that we can’t afford and, according to economists, will have the least positive impact on our economy.

Q: You’ve said that the wealthiest must pay more. Would closing loopholes instead of raising rates for them satisfy you?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that there are loopholes that can be closed, and we should look at how we can make the process of deductions, the filing process easier, simpler.

But when it comes to the top 2 percent, what I’m not going to do is to extend further a tax cut for folks who don’t need it, which would cost close to a trillion dollars. And it’s very difficult to see how you make up that trillion dollars, if we’re serious about deficit reduction, just by closing loopholes in deductions. You know, the math tends not to work.

And I think it’s important to establish a basic principle that was debated extensively during the course of this campaign.

I mean, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody. This was — if there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more.

I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me, not — by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.

So we’ve got a clear majority of the American people who recognize if we’re going to be serious about deficit reduction, we’ve got to do it in a balanced way.

The only question now is, are we going to hold the middle class hostage in order to go ahead and let that happen? Or can we all step back and say, here’s something we agree on. We don’t want middle- class taxes to go up. Let’s go ahead and lock that in. That will be good for the economy. It will be good for consumers. It will be good for businesses. It takes the edge off the fiscal cliff. And let’s also then commit ourselves to the broader package of deficit reduction that includes entitlement changes and it includes, potentially, tax reform, as well as I’m willing to look at additional work that we can do on the discretionary spending side.

So I want a — a big deal. I want a comprehensive deal. I want to see if we can, you know, at least for the foreseeable future provide certainty to businesses and the American people, so that we can focus on job growth, so that we’re also investing in the things that we need.

But right now what I want to make sure of is, is that taxes on middle-class families don’t go up, and there’s a very easy way to do that. We could get that done by next week.

Sounds pretty firm to me.

17 thoughts on “POTUS Presser

  1. Well now boehner has come out and said” No Mr.President congress should not pass the senates budget , the senate should be passing ours” – now isn’t that special?. Anyhow then he goes on to say how Obama’s plan to cut taxes will hurt America and he won’t do it.And that brings me finally to the point I want to make.

    boehner and the talking heads need someone to call “Bullshit” on this nonsense. Look once again if you do the math what they are saying does not add up.The GOP spent the last 4 years trying to make sure Obama failed so he would be a one term President.And IF what Obama wanted to do was/ is so bad it would hurt the country ask yourself WHY would they not let Obama do what he wanted and own the failure?

    Has the gop never heard of giving someone enough rope to hang ones self? IF the gop thought this would hurt the country why wouldn’t they sit back , shut up and rake in the reward of the Presidents screw up? IF the right is correct then this should be their ” Proceed Govenor” moment where they know their opponent is getting ready to step in shit.

    I think about the right wing noise machine and how much methane gas they have released yapping about this and “Me thinks they doeth protest too much. IF they believe what they are saying they would never say it or anything that might help the President. You can bet IF they were right they would have let the president have his budget the first time and they would have used all the “damage” they predict would come from it to win our last election.So I call bullshit on this fake ass act they are trying to use on the American people. They need to be called out.

    I think also , on this budget matter- the “cuts” need to come from places that are the gravy for those “special projects” congressmen (and women) and senators love to “bring home”or at least thats where we need to start. Then senators and congress need to agree to only take health care from the government as long as they hold office, and they need to agree to take a major cut in pay. Somewhere in the 25% range. They have NO RIGHT to ask the American people to make cuts and sacrifices if they don’t lead by example and cut themselves FIRST. Then don’t talk to me about Medicare and SS without being willing to make the change of the income cap. THAT HAS TO END NOW. And who gets it needs to change also. Someone like mittwitt should never take SS or medicare but they WILL if it still exists for them to take. THAT has to end NOW.

    And boy the mega rich trying to get their boy in sure opened a can of worms they would have been better served leaving closed. We have to do something about it now that they stuck their off shore billions in our faces, robbing us and contributing to this crisis we face today. This has to stop. These billionaires are crooks and they claim it is legal.. well it needs to be illegal.

    And I gotta give a special shout out to applebees and papa johns pizza : Its a tie for assholes of the week. Both claim they will be getting rid of employees “because of Obama care. A majority of their workers are part time and not offered insurance . In the case of papa johns they just built a “World class sculpture garden” here and have already told us pizza costs will increase to off set the health care costs, but they can’t afford insurance for their very few full time employees who actually make pizza’s still.

    At least now I know that they are not companies who support my values and I won’t waste my $$ in a place who does not value their workers.

  2. There are legitimate concerns from the progressive camp that Obama will ‘make a deal’. The anxiety comes from what programs might be reduced in the pursuit of a grand bargain that balances the budget. Or sets the stage for a balanced budget.

    I don’t like a balanced budget amendment in any form I have seen proposed, but I agree with conservatives that borrowing 40 cents on the dollar is unsustainable. If Obama meant a balanced approach – some spending cuts mixed with some new revenue – somebody on both sides isn’t going to be happy. Which is the definition of compromise which we have seen so little of.

    The devil is in the details – where else will the revenue come from besides the death of the Bush tax cuts for top earners? Because it’s not enough by itself. And what programs can be cut or consolidated to reduce spending. Without shredding the social contract that democrats wrote.

    So far, Obama has fiercely defended SS and Medicare and Medicaid. Note that none of them will be cut if we sail off the fiscal cliff. If Obama can close the gap between revenue and spending, it won’t be painless for anyone. IMO, we have to be concerned when the national debt exceeds the GDP and we are approaching that point.

  3. Oh great. NOW I’m sure I’ll either win the lottery or the book I’m working will go all best seller on me the day after the rich folk loose their tax cut.
    I just can’t win….

  4. He seemed pretty firm. But then, he’s seemed that way before. I’ll believe it when I see it.
    If the House doesn’t approve the middle class tax cuts right now – let the taxes go up on everyone, effective 1/1/13. And then the President and ALL of the Democrats need to be unifiled in their message – “Did everyone notice that your taxes went up? That’s because the House Republicans want to keep fighting for the wealthy. Call your local Republican Congressperson, and tell them you want that tax cut for the middle class NOW!”

    I’d prefer any talk of cut to any programs wait until after the new Congress is sworn in. We have a lot more REAL Liberals and Democrats in both houses of Congress, to have the people’s, and Obama’s, back.
    What I don’t want, is the President and Boner locked in a room, making any deal other than keeping the tax cut for the middle class.
    Any negotiations on EVERYHING else, need to be done in the open – “with the President’s vaunted “transparency.”
    Otherwise, I don’t think anything “grand” will come out of the “bargain” for the people who were blameless for this economic mess – “We the people…”
    This “debt” mess is the fault of the rich and their Bush tax breaks, Bush Republicans with their two unpaid for wars and occupations, the Bush Medicare Part D give-away, the Bush cutting of regulations, and the criminal acts of bankers, brokers, and hedge fund managers, who took advantage of every trick and loophole, and created others, and then got bailed-out with tax payer dollars, gave themselves bonuses for their failure, didn’t go to jail for any of that criminality, and still have the audacity to whine that we’re not clapping hard enough for them to succeed, while we kiss the asses.

  5. Ezra had a god bit onWnkblog yesterday about who is behind all this deficit reduction business. It is the same ones who want to gut SS and Medicare/Medicaid, the Peterson foundation and so on. Krugman keeps on spelling it out: in a recession, you do not cut spending. Right now, we need to repair infrastructure and get jobs going that will percolate money through the economy. Oops! Sorry to preach to the choir.

    If there were any sincerity to the new round of supporters of Simpson-Bowles, they would have been working to do something besides remove their corporate income from taxation for all these years. Bah! Humbug!

  6. Here is a public shaming of the “Confederacy of Dunces” that comprise the Consevative punditocracy:


    Enjoy it.
    Soon, oh too soon, the schadenfreude must end.
    BUT NOT YET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  7. justme,
    UH-OH! Maha’s giving you a hint!!!

    Just kiddin’, just me!
    I wish I had a buck for everytime one of mine vanished.

    I finally figured out what it was – I spelled something out I wasn’t supposed to, that maha has set to filter out – either a specific 4-letter word like p*rn, or a particular brand name, frequently for ‘quicker-pecker-uppers’ like ‘V*agra.’

    I know that, and sometimes I STILL forget! As one grows older, one may gain some wisdom – but the trade-off is frequently intelligence.

  8. Well yeah. You just have to look at the one thing he’s saying categorically: He’s not going to sign an extension of the Bush tax cuts over $250,000. He’s been saying that for a while now.

    I see that Chuck Todd asked, “Is there no deal at the end of the year if tax rates for the top 2 percent aren’t the Clinton tax rates, period?” But that’s missing the point. The rates for the top 2% are going to be the Clinton rates. That’s already settled.

  9. He claims the high road by being willing to compromise. Juxtaposed with the intransigent childishness of his opposition he wins. That might well be why he won the election — by being the only adult in the room when he meets with the GOP bully boys who now look sort of pitiful…not that I’m shedding any tears.

  10. Obama could cut some of the loopholes the GOP has been pointing to but in addition to rather than instead of. That would be including some of their ideas, wouldn’t it? It could even be bi-partisan.

  11. And I gotta give a special shout out to applebees and papa johns pizza : Its a tie for assholes of the week.

    Ooh, and some Denny’s-franchise D-bag says he will be adding an “Obamacare surcharge” to his customers’ bills.

    Brilliant website creators, please set one up to list all these business owners who intend to use Obama policies to screw people over, so the public can boycott their crappy businesses, and prospective employees will know they’re in for a rough ride. Maybe there can be an app for that.

  12. joan,
    The people who don’t eat the deep-fried, high-fat crappy sh*t that’s sold by Applebees, Papa John’s, and Denny’s, don’t really need that much Obamacare – it’s the ones who do.

  13. Gulag – the surcharge would make sense if the restaurant owners turned it over to the government, to subsidize their customers’ diet-related illnesses. But of course they won’t, they plan to keep that money.

    Maybe Mayor Bloomberg will ban these joints in NYC!

  14. So I log on to CNN.com just now and I see this breaking headline:

    Two people missing after explosion and fire on oil platform in Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Coast Guard says.

    And I think, “Oh no, I’ve gone back in time to early 2010! I’ve got to warn people not to vote for the Tea Party!”

    Or, as D. Parker once said, What fresh hell is this?

    I am going to go lie down now.

  15. Well this HAS to be our fault, or Obamas fault, and we need to get to the bottom of this right now! What did Obama know and when did he know it? Turns out Obama is not after our guns , he was after our ding dongs and twinkies. Why was there no group on the right to warn us about it so we could stock pile and rasberry zingers and ho-ho’s? How am i suppose to make a sammitch with no wonder bread? Why have we not been briefed on this? Why isn’t congress on the hill holding hearings? Why are we not seeing drone footage of the actual plant closings? What are they hiding from us? We have a right to know- Will we see inside a twinkie all the way to the cream filling when the sex scandal becomes public? And where was the all knowing mittwitt on this issue? I am sure he could have won the hearts and minds of every twinkie lover in the nation had he just exposed Obama’s evil plot/cover up to disarm us of our snack cakes. You gotta wonder folks, whats next? Someone alert glenn beck!

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