As of now, I am in control here, in the White House

Deficit Negotiations Break Down Over Taxes

President Obama stormed into the briefing room this evening to  proclaim that deficit negotiations had broken down, accusing House Speaker Boehner and Republicans of walking away from a deal because they refused to include any tax increases.

I just got a call about a half hour ago from Speaker Boehner, who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations that we’ve been engaged in here at the White House for a big deficit reduction and debt reduction package.

The agreement that was on the table apparently would have reduced the deficit more than $3 trillion, including what Obama said was $1.2 trillion in “additional revenues.” This, he said, would have been less than the Senate “Gang of Six” proposal that some Republicans have signed onto.

But Republicans accused the White House of backing away from an earlier commitment to take at least some of those tax increases off the table, putting them back on after the Gang of Six proposal emerged the middle of the week.

Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor claimed a deal was never close. In a letter to his caucus, Boehner said Obama was “not serious” about deficit reduction unless accompanied by large tax increases, and he said he will now turn to negotiating with Senate Democrats.

This probably means Boehner will look at the plan by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell – to which Democratic Leader Harry Reid is amenable – to have Obama ask Congress to raise the debt ceiling in installments through next summer, without major deficit reduction.

Obama said he would accept the responsibility of asking Congress to raise the debt limit.

They can come up with any plans that they want, and bring them up here, and we will work on them. The only bottom line that I have is that we have to extend this debt ceiling through the next election, into 2013.

And the reason for it is we’ve now seen how difficult it is to get any kind of deal done . . .

So they will come down here at 11 o’clock tomorrow. I expect them to have an answer in terms of how they intend to get this thing done over the course of the next week.

Obama has asked Democratic and Republican House and Senate leaders to come to the White House at 11 am Saturday for another meeting, insisting that before markets open Monday they concur on a path toward lifting the debt ceiling.

Obama was clearly trying to set himself up as an adult who tried and failed to convince unruly, rigid Republicans to go for a “balanced” deal.

It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.

Obama wondered if Republicans “can say yes to anything.”

But the president left out that his own budget proposal earlier this year did not come close to the kind of deficit reduction being discussed now, and that he was only pressed into his current posture of deep concern about stanching the flow of red ink after Republicans threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

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55 Responses to Deficit Negotiations Break Down Over Taxes

  1. Obama still believes he can bully his way through this process. Is that the only way he knows? I guess that’s what they teach in law school, which is the only experience he can draw from.

        • Russell – thanks for posting your comment. I’m scared – how many of the “folks” out there even know who Alinsky is? Or worse – Cloward and Plevin (sp?)

          • Alinsky is NOT a darling of the Tea Party — where do you get that idea? It’s true that conservatives have adopted some of his tactics after seeing them being used by the Democrats – fighting fire with fire.

            Yours is not a DeathRay observation — more of a blip from a weak flashlight.

          • The fact that Tea B_____s don’t align themselves with the causes Alinsky fought for is irrelevant. Clearly many conservatives went to his playbook, and by default, acknowledged the need for the lessons of a left wing activist (see the above link). In for a penny, in for a pound. It is too bad they only learned polarization, not cooperation.

            In fact, I would suggest that none of the radical conservatives have actually seen Alinsky’s lesson’s applied in any meaningful way by Obama, or liberals in general (MoveOn does not, by itself, represent grass-roots activism of the kind I am referring to).

            If you have examples that you can tie directly to Alinsky’s methods, I’d love to hear them.

          • Keith, you’ve moved up in the world. You have the DailyKost liberals visiting. Very, very good. You’re being noticed by the Whitehouse. congrats!!

          • My dearest Death Ray,

            I read Rules for Radicals back in the ’70’s when I was in college. That was also when I was young and had all the answers. I, too, was one of those idealistic youths that thought we should “share the wealth” and “spread it around.”

            But then I graduated, got a job, had a family and realized that I did NOT want my hard earned money to go to people that didn’t want to participate in their own success or take responsibility for their own lives. I spent the majority of my adult life dealing with and working with these very same people, people that had no motivation to do anything for themselves other than take from others.

            I have no problem helping those in need, and I do believe that there should be a “safety net” for those that need it. But to take money from individuals at the barrel of a gun (ie outrageous taxes, forced deductions from pay checks et al) is not the American way.

            Alinsky promoted ridicule and division. Tear society asunder and collapse what made this country great. Destroy the fabric of society, and make the individual be at the mercy and largess of the government. It is the same philosophy that Cloward/Piven promulgated, and the same view that Rahm Emanuel voiced when he said “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste. . .”

            Obama is following in his mentors’ footsteps, and is struggling not to let the current debt ceiling “crisis” go to waste.

            David Kahane’s book, “Rules for Radical Conservatives” is simply learning from Alinsky. For too long conservatives and libertarians have played nice while the Regressives have used corked bats and scuffed balls. You cannot fight on a level field if one side is cheating, and the Regressives have been cheating for years.

            Metaphorically they have been bringing knives and chains to a fist fight. Now the conservatives are metaphorically bringing a gun. It is wonderful to have a legitimate disagreement on ideas and ideals, that is what this country was founded on. But the left has historically cheated in the fight, and the right is FINALLY learning to fight with the same tactics. It is ironic that the left is now crying foul when they get a taste of their own medicine.

          • It is gratifying to see you bookend your argument with a contradiction: “But to take money from individuals at the barrel of a gun (ie outrageous taxes, forced deductions from pay checks et al) is not the American way./Now the conservatives are metaphorically bringing a gun.” And of course, one cannot have a social safety net without mandatory deductions, anymore than we can have police without the public paying their salaries.

            I have only read Rules for Radicals, so I cannot comment on Alinsky’s whole career, but I find your take to be preposterous. Collapse those who made the country great? Tear us asunder? He was a community ORGANIZER. He taught people how to fight for better neighborhoods and fair employment practices, not through an overweening state but through local power. If you can quote the man contradicting these sentiments, please do. Otherwise yours is just so much cliched reactionary sentiment.

            I have just breezed a few chapters of Rules for Conservative Radicals on Amazon, and oy, it is not hard to see why the Tea Baaaappppparrttttttergggggg–I’M TRYING, KEITH! I’M TRYING!–is having trouble actually accomplishing anything in Washington. It’s “rules” are simply bullet points for how to be as obnoxious as possible in political conversations. But, I consider this a real boon to lefties like me! If this becomes an actual conservative strategy guide then, lacking as it does anything comparable to Alinsky’s strategies for grass-roots action, it will only hasten the disintegration of the Tea Party.

          • If Americans were forced to write a check each quarter or at the end of the year to the government for taxes, I can guarantee that government would be considerably smaller and more efficient. As it stands, the current payroll deduction system was devised during the “New Deal” as a way of confiscating the people’s money without them realizing how much was really being taken each week, hence the taking at the barrel of a gun. Fail to pay taxes, and the IRS will put you in jail.

            Alinsky’s ideology was one of conflict and to use his words, “eternal war” against what HE perceived as the inequities of society. Read his 1946 book “Reveille for Radicals” where he calls for conflict and that there are no rules of fair play. The concepts that Alinsky promulgated are the antithesis of a civilized society. Stir the masses, and over throw the status quo. Granted there are times in history that the status quo needed and needs to be tossed to one side, but not in a country that has provided so much to so many for so long. Look at any major disaster around the world, and it is America that is first in and the last out.

            Is America perfect? No. But is there, or has there been any other country in the history of the world that has done as much to help others as America has?

            For someone who was trained as an archeologist, one would think that Alinsky would have understood how societies and cultures begin, grow and decline. One would also think that Alinsky would have realized that there will always be an underclass within any societal structure. But old Saul seemed to get the notion that all societies should be egalitarian. But in the real world that can never exist.

            While our founding documents may say that all men are created equal, that equality only extends to how we are judged by God. There is no such thing as all men being equal. The inequality comes from our innate talents and intelligence. Should the skilled craftsman get paid the same as the guy who sweeps up the sawdust? Should Bono or Beyonce make the same money as the guy who sits on the corner playing his guitar? Should the President make the same as the high school drop out flipping burgers?

            The left wants to redistribute wealth, and bring about “fairness” in life. Sorry to tell you, but life is neither fair or unfair, it just is. To try and correct and make amends for the “sins” of the past is a fallacious argument. If that is the line of reasoning that the left wants to follow then we need to go and seize all the money from Italy for what the Roman Empire did during its time in history. Let’s also seize the treasuries of Spain and give that money to the indigenous peoples of America; Greece for what they did during the time of Alexander; Great Britain for what they did in India, the Americas and other locations.

            The left is willing to ignore what it wants when it suits its cause. And when anyone attempts to make an argument against the ideology being pushed, they are labeled and libeled. If the left truly wanted to bring about equality and prosperity, they would push for tax reform that was true reform. Lowering corporate taxes so companies stay in America, and keep their profits here. The left would push for reforms in medical malpractice and end the frivolous lawsuits against companies for things the company could not have foreseen. But, with the gang of lawyers that permeate DC politics that will never happen.

            If the left was truly concerned about minorities they would promote the family in these communities instead of the culture of death pushed by Sanger and her progeny at Planned Parenthood.

            The left, Regressives, Alinsky followers are blind to what life is about, and will use ridicule, fallacious arguments, hyperbole, and if needed violence to achieve their goals. They are no different than any other totalitarian dictator and his minions when it comes to gaining and keeping power. IF they truly cared for this country and what it has done for the world, and can still do for the world they would work 24/7 to ensure that America remains a land of opportunity, not opportunist.

          • He was a community ORGANIZER. He taught people how to fight for better neighborhoods and fair employment practices

            I thought he was chairman of some nonprofit and went around to groups giving away money. Sometimes a guy from the nieghborhood palled around with him doing that.

          • The problem with these sort of back-and-forth blog chats is that it is hard to keep a person on topic. Rather, you seem to want to paint Saul Alinsky with the broadest possible brush, tarring him for methods and attitudes that you would celebrate (and probably do celebrate) if they were employed by someone of your political stripe.

            I see this in a lot of conservative comments on this blog. Rather than stick to the point, you quickly drift out into an ocean of right wing boiler plate. You are free to do so, but it harms your position only insofar as it proves that all you want is to soak in a warm bath of rhetoric, such that Saul Alinsky or Ted Kennedy or Martin Luther King or Ceasar Chavez or Ralph Nader or Barrack Obama…all “liberals” become just one, formless pudding that you can reject without understanding at all what their own ideas mean or the context in which they have taken hold.

            Your first comment is a pristine example of why ire is no substitute for argument:

            “If Americans were forced to write a check each quarter or at the end of the year to the government for taxes, I can guarantee that government would be considerably smaller and more efficient. As it stands, the current payroll deduction system was devised during the “New Deal” as a way of confiscating the people’s money without them realizing how much was really being taken each week, hence the taking at the barrel of a gun. Fail to pay taxes, and the IRS will put you in jail.”

            This is pure crank-ism. If you want to re-imagine payroll deductions, fine, but the idea that the people don’t know how much money they pay in taxes is tinfoil hat territory. And please show me a country where failure to pay taxes is not against the law.

            “Alinsky’s ideology was one of conflict and to use his words, “eternal war” against what HE perceived as the inequities of society. Read his 1946 book “Reveille for Radicals” where he calls for conflict and that there are no rules of fair play. The concepts that Alinsky promulgated are the antithesis of a civilized society. Stir the masses, and over throw the status quo. Granted there are times in history that the status quo needed and needs to be tossed to one side…”

            Bingo. You can stop right there. Your last sentence has completely neutralized the point you were trying to make. Deny the need to change the status quo and you deny even the justice of our own Revolution.

            “…but not in a country that has provided so much to so many for so long. Look at any major disaster around the world, and it is America that is first in and the last out.”

            Couldn’t resist, could you? Did our charity undermine the need for Civil Rights, Labor Rights, Women’s Suffrage,…?

            “One would also think that Alinsky would have realized that there will always be an underclass within any societal structure.”

            I have no reason to think that he didn’t, but you seem to be arguing for the passivity of those under classes, which is simply Un-American.

            “There is no such thing as all men being equal. The inequality comes from our innate talents and intelligence. Should the skilled craftsman get paid the same as the guy who sweeps up the sawdust? Should Bono or Beyonce make the same money as the guy who sits on the corner playing his guitar? Should the President make the same as the high school drop out flipping burgers?”

            So here’s that “drifting” I mentioned. I don’t know how any of this relates to Alinsky per se, but okay, now we are in the broader “Left vs. Right” argument. This is a common theme, that the talented, the dedicated, the entrepreneur, will be forced at bayonet point to turn over the products of their labor to the slackers. Two quick points:

            1) Even the educated can wind up flipping burgers. Please consult the unemployment figures.
            2) Real wages in this nation for the productive class have been a flatline since the 70s, while the income enjoyed by the capitalist class know of no peak whatsoever. It’s a plain fact that Wall Street is going gangbusters in this economy and that income disparity has never been greater. So, whose labor is being stolen?

            “The left, Regressives, Alinsky followers are blind to what life is about, and will use ridicule, fallacious arguments, hyperbole, and if needed violence to achieve their goals. They are no different than any other totalitarian dictator and his minions when it comes to gaining and keeping power.”

            I will let Mr. Alinsky take the wheel here. Quoting from Rules for Radicals:

            “The scene is Rochester, New York, the home of Eastman Kodak– or rather, Eastman Kodak, the home of Rochester, New York. Rochester is literally dominated by the industrial giant. For anyone to fight or publicly challenge Kodak is itself completely outside of Rochester’s experience (…) One of the first times I arrived at the airport I was surrounded by reporters from the media (…) to the question why I was “meddling” in the black ghetto after “everything” that Eastman Kodak had done for the blacks (there had been a bloody riot, National Guard, etc., the previous summer) I looked blank and replied “Maybe I am innocent and uninformed of what has been happening here, but as far as I know the only thing Eastman Kodak has done on the race issue in America has been to introduce color film.”

            Yeah, that sounds like Stalin to me.

  2. Obama,” I’ve been left at the alter a few times.”

    Not a manly metaphor. Afterall, it’s traditionally been the bride who is left at the alter. I can envision him in his wedding dress waiting for…oh, forget about it.

  3. I believe he is a community organizer, not a leader. Apparently enough people though he could learn on the job, or would grow into the leader they thought he was. Truly they were sadly mistaken as he has shown time and time again.

  4. Barry is in uncharted waters here. He is so accustomed to having people swoon in his presence that he is having a difficult time dealing with not getting his way. It’s fun to watch. There wre times in his press conference that I thought he was just about to lose it. I believe the guy is nearing the edge where he will finally have a childish tantrum. When he does, it is going to be a really entertaining episode. So looking forward to it.

  5. “It is hard to understand why Speaker Boehner would walk away from this kind of deal and frankly, if you look at the commentary out there, there are a lot of Republicans that are puzzled as to why it couldn’t get done.”

    Don’t know what commentary he’s reading…must be on HuffPo. People of both parties are spitting mad angry with these people meeting behind closed doors to decide our future.

    Bravo to the patriot conservatives in the House who stood their ground, and thanks to Speaker Boehner for not caving in to Obama’s demands. I take back every angry word I threw his way…as long as he stands tall and tosses that McConnell-Reid plan in the trash where it belongs. Make the Senate take a vote on Cut, Cap, and Balance.

  6. Why has Obama not out lined his plan to the public to demostrate is merits.

    He does not have one.

    Depending on others to do his work.

    • Obama’s pattern from the start has been to disappear or refuse to participate until other people have committed themselves to some plan, then he appears from the darkness and criticizes what they’ve done by delivering one of his “historic” overview speeches.

      He’s hiding in his room until Congress comes up with something — he loves that “historic” label and it’s so much easier than actually doing work.

    • The govt is dysfunctional now–and it’s bec the president is not leading, not looking out for us, not proposing things no matter what it meant for him personally. Whether we can right this, I am really wondering.

  7. Obama wondered if Republicans “can say yes to anything.” We can say yes to the ouster of your Pressiduncey (sic) in 2012 you fool.

  8. A cold wind blew over this presser when MrO claimed that MrBoehner never returned his phone call. Yikes!
    When the POTUS calls, leaves a message for a callback and is ignored…well, there’s just got to be a new day rising in DC politics.

    When the POTUS recieves a letter from the Speaker of the House that says “we’re not talking to you anymore, we’re going to the Senate”, that’s a cold, cold wind blowing over the WhiteHouse.

    • Can’t sit through an entire episode of that weekly farce. Thanks for doing the hard work for us Granny Jan. What’s with stacking electronic equipment on the Resolute Desk? Granted it is not as bad as what BJ Clinton did at that desk, but he should have more respect for its historical value.

        • I hope that government teacher in that clip isn’t typical. She said she teaches compromise in the two-party system. Wonder how she was spinning “compromise” during the cram-down of Obamacare? The double-standards these people employ is maddening.

          His speech writers are channeling Joseph Goebbels “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

          Counted 13 I’s in the 4:20 clip. Do I win some sort of prize?

      • We’ve been in one Death! Try selling your house like I have for the past year! The thanks I get for serving my (and your) country for 22 years.

      • Death Ray,

        Your use of derogatory and inflammatory rhetoric shows that you are a student of Alinsky. Calling people “Tea B_____s” and accusing the entire conservative movement/philosophy as “Astroturf” simply shows that you are want of any truly original ideas.

        That is the problem with the Regressives, they don’t have any original ideas. They rehash, repackage and resell the same old garbage that they have been pushing for nearly a hundred years. It reminds me of the butcher that takes the rotting meat, turns it over and sells it to the unsuspecting customer. When the customer gets home they realize the duplicity of the butcher and begin to tell all their friends. Soon the butcher can’t sell anything because everyone knows how rotten his products are.

        If the Regressives could come up with an original thought, then perhaps thinking Americans would listen. But they can’t, and their shop is slowly being shut down.

      • Sorry for the housing bubble, Just2Old. Thank your local bank!

        Um…What’s original about cutting taxes for the rich? Seems I’ve heard that one everyday of my life since I was old enough to tell a Democrat from a Republican.

        So, I think we can all agree that “trickle down” is as dead as communism. Whatever’s trickling on us now sure ain’t wealth. But here’s an a fresh idea: why don’t the Republicans join forces with the silent majority of Democrats and just…end the wars? Just cut the damn funding already? You know perfectly well that that is a bipartisan winner, that it will save enormous amounts of money and that the wars aren’t doing us any good whatsoever. Hell, the new terrorists are blonde-haired/blue-eyed Norweigans!

        So, how about “common cause” as a new idea?

        • I’m not blaming the local bank I’m blaming the CRA, which is also known as the Community Reinvestment Act. This began under Carter and was expanded under Clinton and Bush. The Community Reinvestment act was supposed to address lending discrimination practices. It was used by Clinton and Bush to artificially increase home ownership in America. The CRA simply turned into legislation mandating that banks begin lending to borrowers that did not have the ability to repay the loans. However, this program really found its home with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who were more than willing to comply.

          The predatory lenders that everyone was screaming about were originating mortgages based on guidelines from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These guidelines in turn came from the CRA. That doesn’t make all mortgage brokers innocent, but they would have never been able to make those loans had it not been for the GSE’s, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It was an absolute absurdity when a borrower with no money down, on a “no, no loan” (no income, no asset verification) would be charged a risk premium of 1-2% over a prime borrower. A true free market would have priced those sub-prime loans much higher. In fact, a free market would more than likely have never touched those loans, because they are near impossible to price, given that the risks would be too difficult to determine.

          The bubble was created by an orchestra of market intervention from the Federal Reserve, the manipulation of interest rates; and the Federal Government intervention via GSE’s and affordable housing initiatives. Artificially lower interest rates increased the demand for housing. It also allowed for housing prices to increase beyond a nominal level by making them more affordable at a higher price. The GSE’s created a market for the sub-prime and risky loans, which were then securitized and sold to Wall Street. The Community Reinvestment Act poured fuel on an already volatile situation. All of this activity created artificial demand for housing with cheap money and artificially low lending standards. All of this was made possible by the practices of the Federal Reserve and its ability to create money out of thin air and government intervention.

          Many try to blame the free market in the aftermath of this mess. The reality is that we haven’t seen a free market economy since the creation of the Federal Reserve (1913) and it has become even less of a free market ever since. If a true free market were at work, these mal-investments would not have been possible, because the capital required for them would not have been available to do so.
          You, my friend, need to do your homework!

          • My homework has been turned in, graded and put back on my desk with a smiley sunshine sticker, Just.

            The CRA claims you make have largely been debunked (http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/cre-and-the-cra/) although I know they were popular on Fox News for a while as conservatives tried to lay the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of the poor.

            The fact of the matter is that Fannie and Freddie were guilty of playing in the sub-prime securities market, but they were following the lead of their competitors, sub-prime lenders not beholden to the CRA who generated mortgages for all sorts of risky candidates that they never would have before. This was in order to turn the mortgages into T-Bill grade mortgage backed securities that could be purchased by international markets that were starved for new investment opportunities owing to the low Fed interest rate.

            Those securities became, of course, the toxic assets they were destined to become owing to their house-of-cards origins.

            There were a lot of culprits in the Housing Bubble, but stop playing the game of blaming the poor instead of blaming the cupidity of the banking industry. It is factually untrue, and plainly unfair.

  9. Yes, BUT regardless of whatever philosophical reasoning, this Administration seems to be continuing to spend more money than we have, given the tax aka revenues coming in. Many people are out of work: many people seem to be too poor to pay taxes – have I missed something here? Can we continue to spend without income?
    Cradle Catholic here: the discussion seems reminiscent of Angels dancing on the head of a pin.