Green Room

Call the President’s Bluff, Part 2

posted at 12:58 pm on June 19, 2012 by

This morning The Hill reported that seven Senate Democrats are opposed to ending the Bush tax policies on anyone, even the wealthy, without a deficit deal along the lines of Simpson-Bowles. This puts the President in quite a tight spot, especially in light of White House Press Secretary Jay Carney’s statement on June 6 that the President would not extend the tax policies for upper-income earners, even temporarily:

Q    Jay, is the President’s vow not to ever extend the Bush-era tax cuts on the wealthy again extend to a temporary extension aimed at getting some comprehensive agreement?

MR. CARNEY:  President Obama has been clear about his position and it has not changed:  We should not extend and he will not extend the tax cuts — the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of the American people.  It’s bad policy.  It’s bad for the economy, bad for our —

Q    Even temporary?

MR. CARNEY:  I would just point you to what the President has said and his position has not changed.

Q    It sounds like you’re leaving room —

MR. CARNEY:  No, I’m not.  I’m citing the President of the United States.

Q    I just want to be clear, though — so even temporarily he would not extend the Bush tax cuts?

MR. CARNEY:  The President’s position is that we absolutely should extend the tax cuts for the middle class; we should not extend and he will not extend tax cuts for the highest-income Americans.

The question you should be asking is, will the Republicans force a tax hike on 98 percent of tax-paying Americans because they’re holding them hostage to tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.  That’s the question.  Because if the Republican —

Q    But —

MR. CARNEY:  No, Julie, it’s not on the level — what I’m saying, he will not — could I be more clear?  He will not support an extension of the upper-income Bush tax cuts.  He could not be more clear.

At the time, I wrote that Carney was giving Republicans a huge opening to either turn the President’s alleged wish for a compromise/grand bargain on its head or call the President’s bluff. I preferred them to call the bluff and, after The Hill’s article, I’d say that position just got strengthened. As Ed Morrissey posted earlier today:

That’s not entirely bad news for Obama, either — assuming he takes advantage of it.  The Taxmageddon effect on the economy has already started, with businesses and investors sheltering capital in anticipation of heavy damage at the beginning of next year.  Resolving that with a temporary one-to-two-year compromise would encourage more risk and investment, although probably not an overwhelming amount of it, given the state of demand at the moment.  That could produce a couple of good months of economic indicators and give Obama some breathing space.

The question will be whether Obama can take a deal.  He has spent nine months demonizing Republicans and blaming the wealthy for using tax rates that have been in place for more than a decade.  A reversal now would undercut his argument against Mitt Romney in the general election, and it’s difficult to gauge which option would do the most damage — pushing Taxmageddon until the election, or disappointing his progressive base one more time on tax rates ahead of it.  Unfortunately, Obama won’t have the option of getting comprehensive reform passed in the next few months in order to avoid having to make this choice, thanks to his abandonment of Simpson-Bowles sixteen months ago — and it’s too late to adopt it now.

But will the President change his position? On the one hand, he’s backed off on a myriad of positions since taking office, from closing Guantanamo to support for a public option in the PPACA to not raising taxes in last year’s Budget Control Act – clearly, holding steady is not his strong point when controversy arises, and backing down on the Bush tax policies could actually do some economic good and help his re-election chances. On the other, can he really back off on this, an issue he already abandoned liberal Democrats on with the temporary extension in 2010? Dispirited conservatives helped cost Senator McCain (R-AZ) the Presidency in 2008, and the same could (probably won’t, but could) happen if Obama reverses position on the tax cuts.

Whether or not the President will abandon his stance from two weeks ago is uncertain at this point. However, Republicans ought to firmly stand with these seven Democrats, and take advantage of the opening they have provided to push other vulnerable Democrats to fight for a grand bargain that does not raise taxes, will cut tax loopholes, cuts significant spending and puts our nation back on a path to fiscal balance.

[Originally posted at Race42012.com]

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Whoa, so Senate democrats want both an extension of the tax cuts and a deficit deal, both of which Obama opposes? The president is in trouble. If something like this were brought to the floor, it wouldn’t take many people crossing the aisle to override a veto.

Mohonri on June 19, 2012 at 1:31 PM

The tax rates are a red herring. It’s the myriad of complex deductions inserted by politicians to favor particular businesses and industries that determine what any particular individual or business actually pays.

While I don’t want to see any rates raised, I also don’t think it will make that much difference to the 2% that Obama wants to stick it to with more taxes. They’ll just go back to their tax accountants and find all the loopholes and deductions to not pay a dime more. And if they can’t find those, they’ll get their lobbyists to throw some bones towards some influential politicians in order to get a few new pages tacked onto the 72,000 page tax code.

gravityman on June 19, 2012 at 3:27 PM

Every pronouncement by this POTUS has an expiration date. Every last one.

I don’t suppose we could make an “Expiration Pool” for this one, could we? My guess would be Nov. 15, in the event he wins the election. If he loses, the expiration date becomes Jan 14, 2013, letting Mitt take the hit in his first-hundred. The economy tanking due to regime-uncertainty in the markets over this tax makes a nice little no-effort October Surprise… unless it finally sinks in for the Dems that they’re now trusted less than the GOP on the economy. Listening to the Dems so far this cycle, I wouldn’t bank on that, though.

Blacksmith on June 19, 2012 at 11:54 PM


HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

“We will answer them on the field”

Top Pick

Taking it to the limit

Sunday morning talking heads

Jazz Shaw Jun 25, 2017 8:01 AM

Health care and tweeting and Russia, oh my!

Will they stay or will they go?

I can’t imagine what I was thinking when I said that

Rocking the boat majorly

Big government never contracts. It only grows more powerful

It’s only a “ban” until it becomes inconvenient

The decline and fall of Obamacare and the AHCA

Jazz Shaw Jun 24, 2017 8:31 AM

This was all over before it began

Fixing crime in America is a complicated issue

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 8:31 PM

Cops alone won’t solve it.

Victim’s father was President Maduro’s supervisor back when he was a bus driver.

Democrats forgot all about the “era of good feelings”

“Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up.”

“the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey.”

Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing

Trump signs VA reform bill into law

John Sexton Jun 23, 2017 2:41 PM

“What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls.”

A new era of something.

“…died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S.”

The shortsightedness of “Denounce and Preserve”

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 12:11 PM

Pragmatism for the sake of pragmatism doesn’t always work.

Perhaps if you threw in a new car?

Gay marriages still growing, but not as fast

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 10:31 AM

More, but not as quickly.

Should’ve stuck with the pirate gig. It was working for him

The battle for the rubble of Raqqa is underway

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 8:51 AM

Won’t be much left.

Your list of demands is a publicity stunt

“what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives…”

“The jobs are still leaving. Nothing has stopped.”

Bad vendor. Bad! No cookie!

“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified.”

“So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you’re saying?”

Why would we possibly want that?

“I mean he sold our country to The Russians.”

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…

“You can ask a hundred people what hate speech is and you get a thousand different answers”

Trump: I never made any recordings of Comey

Allahpundit Jun 22, 2017 2:01 PM

Bluff.

Hackers stole private data from election databases

John Sexton Jun 22, 2017 1:21 PM

“90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers”