Taxes went up for every American worker this year, and Obama won a special targeted tax rate hike on high-income households. The size of the targeted tax hike that Obama spent most of post-election political capital on was about the same size as what will be vacuumed out of federal spending this year: about $85 billion.
While Obama argued that the economy was strong enough to weather the tax hikes, he says that it cannot endure spending reductions of the same size. In fact, he says more taxes would be preferable to any reduction in federal outlays. The president, after all, would like to see yet more taxes to finance yet more spending.
The emergency personnel with the president today are the embodiment of Obama’s preferred form of economic stimulus: government workers (who, not coincidentally, are the most important part of his political base).
But aside from the economic argument, Obama is warning that unless Republicans agree to more taxes, people will die. Obama warns of understaffed fire departments, furloughed food inspectors and vacancies in the agency that tracks loose nuclear material. He says he is for having the wealthy pay “their fair share” while Republicans, must prefer raging infernos, tainted food and radioactive waste.