The deadline for reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff is looming, and the solution remains elusive. President Obama appears no closer to accepting any spending cuts. Instead, he's trying to push a plan that would only add to the existing $16.4 trillion debt.
House Speaker John A. Boehner took to the well of the House Tuesday to lament Mr. Obama's unwillingness to compromise.
"The president wants more 'stimulus' spending and an increase in the debt limit without any cuts or reforms. That's not fixing our problem," said the Ohio Republican. "On top of that, the president wants to raise tax rates on many small-business owners. Now even if we did exactly what the president wants, we would see red ink for as far as the eye can see. That's not fixing our problem either -- it's making it worse and it's hurting our economy."
Mr. Obama stuck to his message of solving the debt crisis through increased spending, telling union allies in Michigan on Monday, "If we're serious about reducing our deficit, we've also got to be serious about investing in the things that help us grow and make the middle class strong, like education, and research and development, and making sure kids can go to college, and rebuilding our roads and our infrastructure."
Boosting expenditures by $150 billion won't reduce the deficit, particularly after Mr. Obama succeeds in his other priority: raising income taxes on small-business owners and those who make over $200,000. This particular set of increases will rake in an extra $400 billion over 10 years, which would cover about four days' worth of outlays. The rest of the $1.2 trillion in increases would come from raising investment taxes, limiting deductions and raising estate taxes at the cost of 700,000 private-sector jobs lost.
The super PAC Crossroads GPS on Tuesday launched radio ads in five states urging Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014 to endorse spending restraint as part of a fiscal cliff deal. "We need bipartisan solutions to strengthen Medicare and Social Security. And tax reforms that raise more revenue without killing jobs," the announcer says. The ad ends by encouraging citizens to call their senators to demand that Washington "stop the spending and give us a balanced plan."
The group is spending $240,000 on spots targeting Sen. Mark Begich of Alaska, Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota and Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia.
In 2012, Uncle Sam spent $3.6 trillion, which is almost 1 out of every 4 dollars generated in the entire economy. That's far too much, and Mr. Obama certainly does not need any more. The basic arithmetic coming out of the White House just isn't adding up. Instead of playing the politics of envy and class warfare, it's time for Mr. Obama to sign on to a serious effort to bring the budget back into balance.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.
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