Republican House Speaker John Boehner has responded to President Obama's apocalyptic speech on sequestration yesterday. In the Wall Street Journal, Boehner writes the following:
Having first proposed and demanded the sequester, it would make sense that the president lead the effort to replace it. Unfortunately, he has put forth no detailed plan that can pass Congress, and the Senate—controlled by his Democratic allies—hasn't even voted on a solution, let alone passed one. By contrast, House Republicans have twice passed plans to replace the sequester with common-sense cuts and reforms that protect national security.
That tells a very different story than what Barack Obama told the American people just yesterday. Obama said the following during his sequestration speech:
I know Democrats in the House and in the Senate have proposed such a plan — a balanced plan, one that pairs more spending cuts with tax reform that closes special interest loopholes and makes sure that billionaires can’t pay a lower tax rate than their salary — their secretaries.
That right there explains why the Democrat plan can't pass through the Congress. While Obama won't say the words, I will: Tax increases. I told you last week not to be fooled by Democrats using the the phrase “closing tax loopholes” as a code for increasing taxes on the rich. Democrats already got $600 billion in tax increases in the fiscal cliff deal. They also got a 3.8% tax increase on the rich because of new taxes levied by ObamaCare. Last week I also told you how ridiculous this idea is that billionaires are paying lower tax rates than their secretaries. This is, again, just another scare tactic used by Obama in order to shame Republicans into compromising. The Politico ran the headline today: President Obama's sequestration strategy: Shame.
Let's get back to Obama's speech yesterday and his “shaming” of Republicans:
“And I know that Republicans have proposed some ideas, too. I have to say, though, that so far at least the ideas that the Republicans have proposed ask nothing of the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations, so the burden is all on first responders or seniors or middle-class families. They double down, in fact, on the harsh, harmful cuts that I’ve outlined. They slash Medicare and investments that create good, middle-class jobs. And so far at least what they’ve expressed is a preference where they’d rather have these cuts go into effect than close a single tax loophole for the wealthiest Americans. Not one.”
Don't you just love that Barack Obama has painted this apocalyptic, either-or scenario? Either we close these tax loopholes or all of our future debt burdens will be on first responders , seniors and the middle class. Clearly we know this is not the case, and it is shamefully misleading of Obama to suggest it.
We've established the fact that Barack Obama already got his tax rate increases, along with ObamaCare tax increases. But that's not enough to satisfy his irrational need to increase taxes. Now he INSISTS that we must close loopholes in addition to the tax rate increases. Funnily enough, when the Republicans were the ones proposing closing tax loopholes instead of raising tax rates, it was Barack Obama who was the one claiming that the GOP plan wouldn't work. Let's go to an interview Obama did with Bloomberg Television in December 2012 when the Republicans were offering the loophole idea instead of tax rate increases:
Obama and aides say the GOP plan won't raise nearly the $800 billion over a decade that it claims, at least not without eliminating popular deductions such as the ones on charitable contributions and home mortgage payments. "When you look at the math, it doesn't work," Obama told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday.
So back in December, closing tax loopholes “doesn't work” but now it is suddenly essential in order to avoid sequestration and pinning our debt burdens on first responders, seniors and the middle class? What's going on here? What's going on is that Barack Obama has been playing the Republicans in order to get what he has really wanted all along: Tax rates increases along with eliminating deductions for rich Americans and certain industries. At this point, the Republicans cannot allow themselves to be shamed into accepting these loophole reforms, without at least revisiting the idea of then lowering tax rates. As we know, that isn't going to happen.