Obama: Boehner's cliff counteroffer is "still out of balance"

Echoing the sentiments delivered by his communications director after the GOP sent over their fiscal-cliff counteroffer yesterday afternoon, President Obama personally dismissed the Republicans’ proposal out of hand during an interview with Bloomberg TV.

OBAMA: Well, I think that, you know, we have the potential of getting a deal done, but it’s going to require what I talked about during the campaign, which is a balanced, responsible approach to deficit reduction that can help give businesses certainty and make sure that the country grows.

And unfortunately, the speaker’s proposal right now is still out of balance. You know, he talks, for example, about $800 billion worth of revenues, but he says he’s going to do that by lowering rates. And when you look at the math, it doesn’t work.

And so what I’ve said is that I am prepared to work with the speaker and Democrats and Republicans to go after excessive health care costs in our – in our federal health care system. We’re going to have to strengthen those systems, and I think we can do that without hurting seniors, without hurting beneficiaries. I think that, you know, there’s probably more cuts that we can squeeze out, although we’ve already made over $1 trillion worth of spending cuts.

And White House Press Secretary Jay Carney of course had his own bit of spin on the matter during the press briefing Tuesday afternoon, after some grilling from Ed Henry (click the image to watch):


It’s a couple sentences — it’s not a plan to say that we’re going to magically increase revenues through loophole closures and deduction caps with not a single element of specificity. So we don’t know who pays, we don’t know what we’re talking about in terms of actual legislation to increase revenues. It’s magic beans and fairy dust. The president has put forward specific proposals. Look, I acknowledge that not with any great specificity, there’s a little more meat on the bones in terms of their proposals on the spending cut side. When it comes to revenues, it doesn’t meet the test of balance or the necessary test of specificity.

This is getting ri-gosh darned-diculous. The White House is full to bursting with more excuses than you can shake a stick at, but the fact remains that the Republican leadership has officially taken a step toward Democrats’ (completely absurd, reality-defying) demands in expressing a willingness toward increased revenue, and President Obama is relentlessly just throwing it back in their face. It is getting all too obvious that this is not about the money or the math, as Chris Stirewalt explains:

Not only would the additional payments by those families making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000 be a relatively small sum – something like one week of federal spending next year – but the president is turning down proposals that would provide similar revenues by closing loopholes.

For Obama, this is in part about principle. He believes income inequality is a huge problem facing the nation. The president also seemingly believes that by knocking down the income of the top 2 percent of earners by an estimated average of $36,000 per household, and then taking that money and spending it on government programs aimed at lower-income Americans, it will help narrow the gap between the rich and the middle class. …

But again, the president is rejecting plans that would provide similar reductions in net income for top earners, so he pretty obviously isn’t as concerned that this particular deal comports with his goal of wealth redistribution.