The Corner

Obama Proposes Tax Increases and Spending Cuts to Avoid the Sequester

This afternoon, President Obama called for a combination of tax hikes and some budget reforms to avoid the sequester cuts that are scheduled to kick in automatically on March 1 absent congressional action. “We can’t just cut our way to prosperity,” he said, rejecting a deficit-reduction and sequester-avoidance approach limited to spending cuts. He requested a “balanced mix of spending cuts and more tax reform” from Congress, emphasized that proposals he made in discussions with Speaker Boehner during the fiscal-cliff negotiations last year were “still on the table.” Some of these proposals included substantially more revenue than was actually included in the final fiscal-cliff deal, and would have used that revenue in part to postpone sequestration for one year. (Various deals proposed by the president, he explained, also included health-care and entitlement reforms as deficit-reduction measures.)

This morning, Speaker Boehner explained that congressional Democrats and the president have both failed to propose budgets, and that “none of them have a plan to replace the sequester.” He indicated his continued opposition to tax increases, including as a measure to stave off sequestration.

Yet President Obama remained firm in his insistence that the government raise revenues by increasing the tax burden on wealthier Americans, via “tax reform”:

In order to achieve the full $4 trillion that is the stated goal of economists and our elected leaders, these modest reforms in our social-insurance programs have to go hand-in-hand with a process of tax reform so that the wealthiest individuals and corporations can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans.

The president explained that the revenue gained from closing these loopholes would be exclusively for deficit-reduction purposes, and he was not willing to reduce other taxes at the same time, or as he termed it, “turn around and spend that on new tax breaks for the wealthiest, or for corporations.”

He also suggested that “if Congress can’t act immediately on a bigger package” or pass a “full budget” before the sequester hits on March 1, they should buy time for further negotiations with a “smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms,” which would “delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months.”

Most Popular

Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
Elections

About That ‘Broken Algorithm’

Of all the loopy assertions made at the press conference President Trump’s legal team conducted last Thursday, the one that has been most roundly derided is the since-ousted Sidney Powell’s claim that the national popular vote was such a landslide for President Trump “that it broke the algorithm that had ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More
U.S.

The Coming Anti-COVID Restriction Backlash

The backlash is coming. It already seems clear that the first major political and cultural eruption of the Biden years will be a roiling populist backlash against the next round of COVID restrictions. We saw this sentiment play out in sporadic anti-lockdown demonstrations last spring, and it has driven ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More

The Rural Way

Almost every national Election Night reveals the same old red/blue map. The country geographically is a sea of red. The coasts and small areas along the southern border and around the Great Lakes remain blue atolls. Yet when the maps are recalibrated for population rather than area, the blue areas blow up, ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More
Elections

A Hard Look at Those Post-Election Legal Efforts

On the menu today: Michigan certifies its vote totals; the General Services Administration starts the transition; and it’s time for a hard, unflinching look at the president’s post-election legal efforts. What Did the President Get from His Legal Team? Michigan and Georgia have certified their election ... Read More