While conservatives fume over the fiscal cliff aversion bill that passed through Congress and now awaits President Barack Obama’s signature, Obama’s team is triumphal about it – and they are ready for a debt ceiling debate featuring more talk about taxing the rich. Despite Obama’s proclamation that the rich are now “paying their fair share,” Obama will undoubtedly call for more tax increases for top earners if Republicans insist on cutting government spending.
How do we know? This morning, Obama’s team, led by David Plouffe, sent out an email linking to the White House blog, which expressed its pleasure with the current deal – and spelled out the President’s utter unseriousness about cutting the debt, and total seriousness about soaking the rich.
Here’s what the White House blog says, in a post titled, “7 Things You Need To Know About The Tax Deal”:
- As the President promised, income tax rates for middle-class families will stay low permanently. That’s good news for 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses.
This, of course, is untrue. The fiscal cliff deal allows the payroll tax to rise, hurting virtually all taxpayers. And Obamacare’s taxes largely target the middle class. Obama’s priority was never keeping taxes low. The fact that the Bush tax rates have been permanently enshrined for those making under $400,000 is a testament to Republicans, not Democrats.
- As the President promised, for the first time in 20 years, a bipartisan agreement will increase tax rates on the wealthy. That rate increase will be immediate and permanent. Individuals making more than $250,000 will be asked to pay a little more to help reduce the deficit through a combination of increased tax rates and reduced tax benefits.
This was Obama’s real goal. He wanted to force Republicans to agree to a tax hike. But, of course, he’d already accomplished that back in 2011 when Republicans in Congress agreed to the idiotic sequester bill that made tax increases automatic come January 2013. As for the notion that the rich are being “asked” to “pay a little more.” They’re not. They’re being forced at the point of a gun to pay a lot more. But Obama loves euphemisms.
Notice that Obama is sticking with his $250,000 sum, too, even though the real deal cutoff is $400,000. That means that he’s looking for more tax increases. Which leads to point number three:
- This agreement cuts the deficit. It builds on the $1 trillion in spending cuts the President signed into law in 2011 through the Budget Control Act. This new agreement cuts the deficit by $737 billion by asking the wealthiest to begin to pay their fair share. Moving forward, the President is committed to reducing the deficit even more, splitting savings in a balanced way between spending cuts and even more revenue from the wealthiest.
Obama did not cut the deficit. None of the BCA cuts have been implemented yet, thanks to the fiscal cliff bill. As for the notion that the tax revenue will be used to cut the deficit, that’s laughable – the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases is more than 10:1.
More importantly, Obama says that any future debt deals will require raising taxes. Again. And again. And again. Which means no cuts, and more tax increases.
- As part of this deal, a group of tax cuts that help middle-class families keep more money in their pockets and afford to pay for higher education was also extended. The Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the new American Opportunity Tax Credit will stay in effect for at least the next five years.
These tax credits are largely giveaways to those who pay little in taxes. They do not spur economic growth, and they’re spending measures.
- We’ll continue making investments that create jobs in domestic clean energy and innovation because the agreement extends the Production Tax Credit and the Research & Experimentation Tax Credit.
More spending. Shocker.
- Lawmakers agreed to extend emergency unemployment insurance for 2 million people looking for work.
Which, of course, keeps the unemployed and not looking for work.
- This agreement doesn’t cut Social Security benefits, Medicare, or Medicaid. That’s because the President stood strong against reducing our deficit on the backs of seniors, students, the poor, and working families.
No, that’s because Obama stood strong against reducing the deficit, period. Spending will continue at astronomical rates. And if Republicans insist on talking about the debt, Obama will simply continue to go back to the well on tax increases. The question is whether Republicans will ever grow the cojones to tell him no on taxes and take control of the purse strings they control through the House of Representatives.