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Blame Obama’s insatiable insistence on more and more taxes for the collapse of the debt ceiling negotiations.
In the Los Angeles Times, Peter Nicholas and Lisa Mascaro tell us that on Sunday, July 17, Obama and the Republicans had agreed upon “$800 billion in revenue increases.”
On Tuesday, July 19, the Gang of Six unveiled its deficit reduction proposal that included more than $1 trillion in tax revenue. Claiming the Gang of Six proposal “changed the dynamics of what they could do,” the White House then insisted it needed an additional $400 billion in new tax revenue.
It was this last minute demand for another $400 billion in new tax revenue that the Republicans blame for the collapse of the debt ceiling negotiations.
In his “hastily arranged” Friday evening press conference, “a visibly irritated” Obama said “it’s hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this deal.” Obama might find it hard to understand why Boehner walked away from this deal, but I don’t.
Insisting on a 50% increase in a major item is no way to close a deal. The Republicans had already offered, and Obama had agreed to, $800 billion in “added tax revenue.” Obama blew the deal by suddenly insisting on an additional 50% increase in tax revenues.
Speaker Boehner, in his news conference, explained that it was Obama’s insistence on more taxes led to the breakdown in debt ceiling discussions:
The discussions we’ve had broke down for two reasons. First, they insisted on raising taxes. We had an agreement on a revenue number – a revenue number that we thought we could reach based on a flatter tax code with lower rates and a broader base that would produce more economic growth, more employees and more taxpayers, and a tax system that was more efficient in collecting the taxes that were due the federal government. Let me just say that the White House moved the goalposts. There was an agreement, until the President demanded $400 billion more, which was going to be nothing more than a tax increase on the American people. I can tell you Leader Cantor and I were very disappointed in this call for higher revenue. Second, they refused to get serious about cutting spending, and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform.
You know, until recently the president was demanding that the Congress increase the debt limit with no strings attached. As a matter of fact, the Treasury Secretary sent me a letter two days after we were sworn in in January demanding that we give him a clean increase in the debt limit. I immediately responded and told the Treasury Secretary that the American people would not tolerate a clean increase in the debt ceiling unless there were serious spending cuts attached and real reforms to the way we spend the American people’s money. I went to New York City in May, gave a speech to the New York Economic Club, where I outlined the challenges we were facing and I made it clear that we would not increase the debt limit without cuts that exceeded that increase in the debt limit, that there would be no new taxes, and that there would be serious spending reforms put in place.
I can tell you it’s not in the best interest of our country to raise taxes during this difficult economy, and it’s not in the best interests of the country to ignore the serious spending challenges we face. … Now I want to say, this is a serious debate. It’s a debate about jobs, it’s about our economy, and frankly it’s also a big debate about the future of this country. … Listen, it’s time to get serious, and I’m confident that the bipartisan leaders here in the Congress can act. If the White House won’t get serious, we will.
You can watch Boehner’s statement below: