Archive for the ‘Obama’ Category

House GOP offers a familiar ‘Plan B’ for dodging the fiscal cliff

Reports from Washington vary on how close President Obama and Speaker John Boehner are to striking a deal to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff. But the emergence of Boehner’s apparent back-up plan in case they don’t reach an agreement caught my eye.

This morning, Boehner said his “Plan B” is for the House to extend all the rates for taxpayers earning $1 million or less per year while raising them on those who make more than that, and leaving the broader discussion for next year. Hmmm … who has suggested just such an approach?

[T]o, to Obama, this clearly is more about good politics than good policy. The House GOP should respond in kind.

It should pass the “Buffett Rule” bill that failed to pass the Senate in April, amended to include an extension of all current tax rates through 2013, as a down payment. While the Buffett Rule is projected to raise $47 billion during the next decade if the current tax rates for high earners are not extended, I’ve seen projections of more …

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Obama’s asking for it; maybe the GOP should give it to him

It appears more and more likely that Washington’s new favorite drama, the fiscal cliff, will run as long as possible.

Passing new legislation before Christmas to avoid the cliff — the doomsday nickname given to the combination of across-the-board spending cuts set during last year’s debt-ceiling negotiations and the total expiration of income-tax rates that have prevailed since since 2003 — now seems unlikely. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor on Wednesday said lawmakers can expect to be in Washington during December’s final days.

The fatal conceit in this debate is that the economy will somehow be well-served, or at least survive, if it takes only a half-dose of what Democrats consider poison (spending cuts) and a half-dose of what the GOP deems deadly (tax increases).

If either party is correct, we are in for a rough 2013 at the very least. If both parties are correct, we could be heading for another recession. The irony is that we’re trying to avoid the fiscal cliff …

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#My2K bug: How Obama proved conservatives right on taxes

I’d like to thank President Obama for taking the time last week to explain why conservatives have been right about taxes all along.

Last Wednesday, Obama took his perpetual campaign to Twitter, encouraging supporters to send messages about how a middle-class tax increase would affect them. Never mind that no one is proposing a middle-class tax increase; the difference between Democrats and Republicans concerns raising taxes on couples earning more than $250,000 per year.

Even that difference concerns not whether they should go up, but by how much and which means: GOP leaders have offered to raise taxes on high earners by $800 billion over 10 years by limiting how many deductions tax filers can take. Obama wants to raise $1.6 trillion over 10 years by limiting deductions and raising tax rates.

Along the way, however, Obama conceded three of the main points the right long has made about raising taxes. And it only took him five of the 140 characters allowed for a tweet to do …

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Obama’s idea of compromise: All take, no give

I admit that I haven’t been paying too much attention to the certified vote totals from each state in the presidential election, but how did I miss the news that President Obama won 100 percent of the votes in every single state (not just select Philadelphia precincts)?

That’s the only explanation I can conjure for his reported “offer” on the fiscal cliff, via the New York Times:

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner presented the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a detailed proposal on Thursday to avert the year-end fiscal crisis with $1.6 trillion in tax increases over 10 years, $50 billion in immediate stimulus spending, home mortgage refinancing and a permanent end to Congressional control over statutory borrowing limits.

The proposal, loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts, met strong Republican resistance. In exchange for locking in the $1.6 trillion in added revenues, President Obama embraced the goal of finding $400 billion in savings from …

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Obama gets it right on EU airline tax

For those of you who say I never write anything complimentary about President Obama: He done good this time. From The Hill:

President Obama has signed into law a bill that requires U.S. airlines be excluded from European carbon emissions fees.

Environmentalists had framed the bill as the first test of the president’s commitment to fighting climate change in his second term and urged him to veto it. Obama quietly signed it Tuesday over their objections.

The European Union has been trying since I was living in Brussels to tax any airline, regardless of where it’s based, for the entirety of any flight that enters EU airspace, regardless of how little time the flight actually spends in EU airspace. So, a flight from Los Angeles to London would be taxed for the entire length of the trip, even though only a fraction of it was spent in EU skies.

I don’t think it diminishes what Obama did here to add: He really had no choice. Allowing another government to tax our businesses in this …

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What’s Obama thinking with tax hikes on the rich?

Thanksgiving is over, and the fiscal cliff is back on the table. Here in Georgia, Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s public feud with tax-pledge champion Grover Norquist made headlines and ramped up speculation about which Georgia Republican(s) might challenge our senior senator when he’s up for re-election in 2014.

But if there’s going to be a deal on taxes and spending before we start going over the cliff in January, our newly re-elected president will play the most prominent role. I’ve previously written about how the GOP-led House might try to maneuver with Obama. Now Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist and former adviser to both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, uses an op-ed in the New York Times to imagine how the president’s internal debate might be going from two perspectives: the committed liberal his critics contend he is, and the pragmatic moderate his supporters believe him to be.

The entire article is interesting and worth a read, but I’m going to highlight one section that isn’t …

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In an agitated region, Israel-Gaza conflict has dangerous potential; U.S. leadership needed

While we sort out who in our national security and defense hierarchy has been sleeping with whom, it appears Israel and terrorists in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip are heading into a full-fledged war. As night falls in the region, Israeli officials have confirmed the first rocket attacks on Tel Aviv since the 1991 Gulf War. The Times of Israel has a running live blog of the action.

Those attacks followed yesterday’s Israeli strikes on terrorist targets in Gaza, including one that killed the leader of the military arm of Hamas. Both Hamas and another group called Islamic Jihad previously had ramped up their sporadic firing of rockets into southern Israel; as of mid-October, Israeli officials said there had been more than 800 rocket attacks on their country from Gaza this year.

Given the civil war in Syria, to Israel’s east; the new Egyptian government’s support of its fellow Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, Hamas; and Iran’s ties to both the Syrian government and the …

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How the GOP can turn Obama’s ‘I won’ attitude against him

So far, President Obama and Speaker John Boehner aren’t negotiating a way to rein in budget deficits in private this time. They’re negotiating in the press, and Obama is taking the hardest line.

While Boehner has signaled a willingness to increase tax revenue by limiting and eliminating deductions rather than by raising tax rates, Obama says his idea of compromise is to do both. He wants $1.6 trillion in new revenues over the next decade, which is double what he and Boehner nearly agreed to do during the 2011 debt-ceiling talks.

Virtually all of this new revenue would come from high earners: individuals making more than $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. Raising their tax rates and capping their itemized deductions is estimated to bring in more than $1.43 trillion. The “Buffett Rule” would tack on another $47 billion, bringing the tab to $1.48 trillion for those at the top of what’s already the most progressive tax system in the industrialized world.

Obama is so …

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Poll Position: How to avoid the fiscal cliff?

The election is over, but there is real work to be done in Washington before President Obama even begins his second term. On Jan. 1, about seven and a half weeks from now, we take a flying leap over the fiscal cliff unless Obama and Congress can strike a deal to avoid it. Oh, and the debt ceiling will probably have to be raised again before the end of 2012, too.

How should Obama and Congress steer us away from the fiscal cliff? (Please vote for one tax option and one spending option)

  • Raise tax rates (53 Votes)
  • Cut spending across the board, cap future increases (48 Votes)
  • Reform entitlements to slow spending growth (46 Votes)
  • Close tax loopholes (45 Votes)
  • Focus on defense, other discretionary spending (39 Votes)
  • Do nothing; bring on the fiscal cliff! (19 Votes)
  • Be revenue-neutral, spark growth to raise revenue (18 Votes)
  • Create a VAT or other new tax (4 Votes)

Total Voters: 163

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This time, Obama is inheriting a mess from himself. The …

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Presidential prediction: The candidate who defies history and wins will be . . .

History and the numbers say Barack Obama will be re-elected tomorrow. History and the intangibles suggest Mitt Romney will unseat him. Which will prevail?

Let’s look at each.

The numbers have moved solidly in Obama’s favor. He caught Romney in the Real Clear Politics average of national opinion polls on Halloween after trailing for the better part of the previous three weeks. More importantly, he holds leads — usually narrow leads, but leads nonetheless — in enough swing states to push him past the threshold of 270 electoral votes (EVs).

There’s been much parsing of the polls this year, much of it focused on the partisan-ID breakdowns that various pollsters were using. A poll of “likely voters” inherently tells us something about who the pollster believes will actually bother to vote, and that’s as much art as it is science. Many pollsters have been forecasting an electorate similar to that of 2008, a wave election that saw Obama rack up 365 EVs and the Democrats claim a huge …

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