A New, Tougher Obama?
prospect.org — In response to pushback from Congress and progressive activists following a report in Thursday’s Wall Street Journal that Obama had offered to be “flexible” on tax-rate hikes for the very richest, the White House formally unveiled a tough bargaining stance: $1.6 billion in tax increases over a decade, all on the top two brackets, and no tax hikes for the bottom 98 percent. The White House proposal included only $400 billion in spending cuts over a decade, none of which cut into Social Security or Medicare—details to be filled in later. Obama also proposed a change in the law to eliminate the obstructionist ritual of requiring a congressional vote to periodically increase the debt ceiling. Two things are encouraging about Obama’s stance. First, there was no backsliding on the promise to insist on restoring the pre-Bush tax cut rates on the top two brackets. Equally significant is the refusal to whack Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid.