The White House put out word over the weekend that the extra $400 billion in taxes it suddenly demanded during the debt ceiling negotiations last week – a 50 percent increase over what had been agreed upon, which scuttled the emerging deal – was just a joke, and House Speaker Boehner has no sense of humor at all.
After President Obama admitted Friday evening that he had put an extra $400 billion on the table, White House officials tried to minimize the problem they had created.
From a report in The Hill:
“I can promise you we were very flexible on [the additional $400 billion],” a senior administration official said.
From an item in POLITICO:
“The $400 billion wasn’t a demand. POTUS said: ‘If you can’t do it, call me back and let’s talk.’”
In another piece I saw, an Obama aide had the nerve to say the $400 billion was just a negotiating stance.
Oops. Boehner took it seriously. And walked out.
I don’t know why Obama upped the ante. The speculation is that he did it after the “Gang of Six” travesty came out, since it had more in tax increases than Obama was offering, and the president couldn’t possibly let a bipartisan proposal get to the left of him. It may also have resulted from the outrage of Democrats who felt cut out of Obama’s dealing with Boehner.
Some conservatives are suggesting Obama did it to spook the markets and use the plummeting Dow as leverage against Republicans.
But you and I know the real reason. It was a joke!