Tax Increases Do Not Solve the Debt Problem:
There is an expectation that the president has created that simply letting the top two percent tax rates go up will make the problem go away. The president's own architecture on this was a three-one ratio [of cuts to revenue], and up until now he insisted on new spending. For three weeks there was a focus from the White House to talk about only twenty five percent of this deal. But what has largely been absent? Where are the spending cuts? Where are the savings? My sense is that the polling changes very, very quickly if they recognize that this revenue side alone, the president's proposal, does not make our fiscal problems go away.
On Working with Obama in the Illinois State Senate:
There are attributes within the president that I have seen in the State Senate that I have not seen him demonstrate as President of the United States. In the State Senate we were able to work together on very controversial things and come to a good outcome. For the first few years of his presidency, it had been open field running, legislatively, that he controlled both chambers of Congress and moved his agenda through.
In divided government, he has not risen to the task of putting a large deal together. Now he has another opportunity: a Speaker of the House and House Republicans who are willing to sit down and be a part of the solution, who have come forward with new revenues. But now House Republicans, and I think the rest of the country as they learn the rest of the story, are saying -- "Mr. President, where are the savings?' Because new revenues alone will not avoid our long term debt problems.
On the Unserious White House Proposal:
There's been a lot of surprises from the Administration, and most of them have been unpleasant. We are at $16 trillion in debt. Secretary Geithner came to the House earlier this week with another proposal that was jarring to me, actually, it was such a nonstarter. $1.6 trillion in new revenue, a new number, but set that aside--they have asked for unbridled authority to raise the debt ceiling based on a presidential whim? And they want to be able to spend new money on stimulus? It is those kinds of surprises that the American public doesn't want, doesn't need, and cannot afford.
Can the President Get to Yes?
All President Obama has to do is say yes he could say yes to the idea of new revenues. The last word on where the new revenue comes from comes from the demographic group that he claims he wants to go after on this. We can be like-minded on this, but it is absolutely essential that the President of the United States disclose to the public where it is that he proposes to save. Of the three-to-one architecture that he has described, he has talked about the $1, but we have heard nothing from the White House on where they propose to save. You cannot tax your way out of the problem we are in. You have got to grow and save our way to a more prosperous future.