Today our nation is 25 days from going over the Fiscal Cliff. House Republicans are continuing to reach out and negotiate in good faith with President Obama in hopes of reaching an agreement before the end of the year.
On Monday, December 3rd, Speaker Boehner sent a letter to the President proposing a balanced approach that makes concrete reductions to spending, reforms the tax code, protect seniors' retirement investments, and ensures we are not crushing small businesses with higher tax rates.
Unfortunately, the White House dismissed the proposal, instead insisting on $1.6 trillion in revenue through tax increases. This is not the "balanced approach' the President has talked about. Further, raising the top marginal tax rates will do nothing to solve our long-term debt problems. As a matter of fact, it wouldn't even cover the $120 billion deficit our country ran in October 2012! Additionally, I am concerned that the current White House plan is focused on using more revenue for additional stimulus style spending instead of deficit reduction.
It's disappointing to see the path the President has chosen to take in the last month. The president has reverted back to campaign style tactics likely to further divide the American people, which could make it less likely for an agreement to be reached before December 31st.
In December 2010, when Congress and the White House last had this debate, the President, 91 current House Democratic Members, and 39 sitting Senate Democrats agreed our economy couldn't survive a new round of tax increases. In fact, just last year, the President said that it was possible to obtain $1.2 trillion in revenue through the same process that House Republicans presented to him earlier this week.
President Obama said a year ago, "What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes -- tax rates, but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base."
Our economy still has a long way to go toward recovery, and there is bipartisan agreement that raising marginal tax rates will only stall economic growth. An agreement can be negotiated before the end of the year, but it has to be a balanced approach that reduces our national debt and grows the economy.