President Obama is taking a hard line with congressional Republicans heading into negotiations over the year-end “fiscal cliff,” making no opening concessions and calling for far more in new taxes than Republicans have so far been willing to consider.
Obama plans to open talks using his most recent budget proposal, which sought to raise taxes on corporations and the wealthy by $1.6 trillion over the next decade, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday. That’s double the sum that House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) offered Obama during secret debt negotiations in 2011.
Obama has been pressing to let the George W. Bush-era tax cuts expire at the end of the year for the wealthiest 2 percent of the nation’s households, a tax hike adamantly opposed by Republicans. But Carney suggested that even the revenue generated by letting those tax cuts end would not be enough to tame the national debt and reenergize the economy.
Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner and other senior Democrats on Tuesday said Obama would not be willing to maintain the Bush tax rates in exchange for a cap on deductions for households earning more than $250,000 a year, a leading Republican alternative.
“I don’t see how you do this without higher rates. I don’t think there’s any feasible, realistic way to do it,” Geithner said at a conference in Washington. “When you take a cold, hard look at the amount of resources you can raise from that top 2 percent of Americans through limiting deductions, you will find yourself disappointed relative to the magnitude of the revenue increases that we need.”