President Obama this morning pocketed the Republican concessions on tax hikes included in the Fiscal Cliff deal and promised that it was only the beginning of new taxation to be assessed on the American people.
Obama, who appeared in the White House briefing room Tuesday night to hail the deal, made clear to Republicans that he will continue to seek a “balanced” approach to deficit reduction – White House code for “balancing” spending cuts with raising taxes. Meanwhile, spending on Obama-blessed programs will continue to rise, he asserted:
We can’t simply cut our way to prosperity. Cutting spending has to go hand-in-hand with further reforms to our tax code so that the wealthiest corporations and individuals can’t take advantage of loopholes and deductions that aren’t available to most Americans. And we can’t keep cutting things like basic research and new technology and still expect to succeed in a 21st century economy. So we’re going to have to continue to move forward in deficit reduction, but we have to do it in a balanced way, making sure that we are growing even as we get a handle on our spending . . .
Today’s agreement enshrines, I think, a principle into law that will remain in place as long as I am President: The deficit needs to be reduced in a way that’s balanced. Everyone pays their fair share. Everyone does their part. That’s how our economy works best. That’s how we grow.
While the Fiscal Cliff’s automatic deficit reduction included both tax increases and spending cuts, the deal passed by Congress Tuesday night relied almost exclusively on tax increases to pare down the deficit. The massive Fiscal Cliff spending cuts that had been scheduled to take effect at the beginning of the year are still on tap, but have been delayed for two months.
But if Republicans thought that out of fairness and “balance” the focus would now be on trimming spending, Obama’s comments made clear that they are deluding themselves.
Having been rolled by Obama into accepting a massive tax increase, Republicans will again be pressured into embracing a “balanced” approach that cuts spending but also socks the “wealthy” for more revenues.