Obama Speaks on Tax Deal

by Daniel Foster

In remarks from the Old Executive Office Building, President Obama announced a tentative “framework” for a bipartisan deal on the Bush tax rates, seemingly determined to make a case for the necessity of the deal to his left flank, even as he transmitting just how distasteful he himself finds it.

“I have no doubt everyone will find something in this compromise that they don’t like. In fact, there are things in this compromise that I don’t like,” Obama said, referring specifically to the extension of current tax rates for top earners, and to an estate tax that is more generous “than I think is wise or warranted.”

Obama all but ceded that the deal amounts to a broken campaign promise, saying that “ever since I started running for this office, I’ve said we should only extend the tax cuts for the middle class” and that he “completely disagree[s]” with Republicans on the issue of top-earners. But he said that he won’t allow the tax “stalemate” to go into next year, turning taxpayers into “collateral damage” in a political fight.

“As sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do,” Obama said, in what could be seen as a signal to Democrats in Congress who think he is waving a white flag to Republicans.

But president also said that he is “confident” it will become “apparent” when the proposed extensions expire in two years that “we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer.”

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