Today, during his absurd press conference, President Obama blustered about raising tax rates – but he seemed to cave when it mattered most. As it now stands, Obama may be open to avoiding tax rate increases, so long as loopholes are closed – the Romney/Boehner proposal in its entirety. When asked directly if raising taxes was his red line – if he wouldn’t accept a proposal that excluded tax rate increases, Obama demurred.
Here’s the relevant portion of the transcript:
With respect to the tax rates, I — I just want to emphasize: I am open to new ideas. If the Republican counterparts or some Democrats have a great idea for us to raise revenue, maintain progressivity, make sure the middle class isn’t getting hit, reduces our deficit, encourages growth, I’m not going to just slam the door in their face. I want to hear — I — I want to — I want to hear ideas from everybody …
I’m less concerned about red lines per se. What I’m concerned about is not finding ourselves in a situation where the wealthy aren’t paying more or aren’t paying as much they should; middle-class families, one way or another, are making up the difference. That’s the kind of status quo that has been going on here too long, and that’s exactly what I argued against during this campaign.
Obama’s leftist friends are sure to be apoplectic over his seeming cave-in today. One thing is for certain: Obama signaled today that he greatly fears running over the fiscal cliff. And if America does approach that cliff, Obama will shy away. He owns this economy. He designed the fiscal cliff. If we plunge over it headlong, he will be responsible, and so will his party.