Our president called on Congress today to approve a short-term budget solution as an attempt to avoid sequestration, the fancy way of saying deep spending cuts, which are scheduled to set in on March 1.
Mr. Obama believes there should be spending cuts, but they should not come from education, energy and national security, but from tax reform that eliminates loopholes and deductions. The New York Times reports that in a televised interview with CBS on Sunday he mentioned that the upcoming budget deal likely will not include further tax increases, but I’m sure to the wealthy this quest to reduce loopholes and deductions sounds just like tax increases. It was only last month that legislation passed that avoided tax increases on the middle class. (The payroll tax “increase” you’ve noticed is actually the reinstatement of 2010 rates.)
In his interview, the President was candid about his motives stating, “Can we close some loopholes and deductions that folks who are well connected and have a lot of accountants and lawyers can take advantage of so they end up paying lower rates than a bus driver or a cop?”
In a press conference earlier today Obama asked for passage of “a smaller package of spending cuts and tax reforms that would delay the economically damaging effects of the sequester for a few more months until Congress finds a way to replace these cuts with a smarter solution,” reports Reuters. Republican leadership has already rejected much of what President Obama said, with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell pushing for more cuts and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Republican Congressman from Michigan, calling Obama’s plan “another tax hike.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, House Speaker John Boehner issued a statement before the press conference saying, in part, “Republicans have twice voted to replace these arbitrary cuts with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect our national defense… The president’s sequester should be replaced with spending cuts and reforms that will start us on the path to balancing the budget in 10 years.”
In other words, the back and forth between the President and Congress, and the President and Congress, hasn’t stopped. The cycle saga continues.