Obama Holds His Ground

Andrew Sullivan —  Nov 14 2012 @ 7:08pm

A highlight from today's Obama presser:

Ezra Klein sums up Obama's position on tax increases:

[I]f Republicans want to raise revenue while holding down rates by reforming the tax code, they have to show how they’re going to do it, prove that they’re willing to take the heat, and let it get scored by the Joint Tax Committee. If not, then tax rates are going up, either because Congress agrees to decouple the tax cuts for income under $250,000 from the tax cuts for income over $250,000, or because we’ve hit the deadline without an agreement and all the tax cuts have expired, raising taxes on everybody.

Scott Galupo's read on the game of chicken:

If my political antenna is working correctly, it sounds to me that, in calling for an immediate extension of current tax rates on the nonwealthy, Obama is signaling to Congress that we can partially go over the fiscal cliff — that is, we can mitigate the most extreme effects of an austerity shock and buy enough time to work out something comprehensive over the course of the next several months. Obama seemed to me to be suggesting that the likelihood of agreeing broadly on reforms to the tax code and the entitlement system between now and Jan. 1 is roughly nil.

Chait's view:

[A] big part of the game is for each side to blame the other for the fiscal cliff. Obama’s play is to rule out extending the Bush tax cuts on the rich, and demand an extension of the Bush tax cuts on income under $250,000. Will Republicans agree to do that? Almost certainly not. But a new poll shows Americans are predisposed, by a 53 percent to 29 percent margin, to blame Republicans over Obama for any failure to avert the fiscal cliff. And so, if Obama can’t make Republicans extend the middle-class tax cuts before January, he can at least use his platform to communicate that they and not he are responsible for the standoff.

The full press conference can be watched here.