In negotiations on the looming fiscal cliff, President Obama has been insistent on the matter of raising tax rates on the top 2 percent. In an interview yesterday with Bloomberg News, he said, “It’s just a matter of math. You know, there’s been a lot of talk that somehow we can raise $800 billion or $1 trillion worth of revenue just by closing loopholes and deductions . . . that’s not a realistic option.”
Yet, just over a year ago, in negotiations with Republicans on a debt-reduction deal that never came to fruition, the White House proposed doing just that. In a press conference on July 22, 2011, President Obama told reporters that, in talks with House Speaker John Boehner, he proposed raising $1.2 trillion in revenues by closing loopholes and deductions. “What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates — but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax-reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base,” Obama said.
The president said yesterday, however, that “When you look at how much revenue you can actually raise by closing loopholes and deductions, it’s probably in the range of $300 billion to $400 billion. That’s not enough to come up with a balanced plan that actually reduces the deficit and puts us on the path of long-term stability.”
Video of the president’s statement in his press conference of July 22, 2011 is below: