Analysis: Obama could risk going over 'cliff'

It may be just a bluff or a bargaining ploy, but the White House is signaling that President Barack Obama is willing to let the country go over the "fiscal cliff," a hard-line negotiating strategy aimed at winning concessions from Republicans on taxes.
Associated Press
Dec 5, 2012

If Washington really does fail to avert the looming series of tax hikes and spending cuts, the White House will portray Republicans as the culprits for insisting on protecting tax cuts for the wealthy, an effort the administration is laying the groundwork for now.

"This is a choice of the Republican Party," said Dan Pfeiffer, White House communications director. "If they are willing to do higher rates on the wealthy, there's a lot we can talk about. And if they are not, then they'll push us over the cliff."

But going over the cliff also would be full of risk for a president fresh off re-election and facing at least two more years of divided government.

Ending the year without a deal could roil financial markets and dent consumer confidence just as the economy is strengthening. It could make it harder for Obama to get Republican help on his second-term priorities like overhauling the immigration system and the nation's tax code, or in getting potential Cabinet replacements confirmed.

And it would signal to the country that the president's campaign prediction that the GOP "fever" would break following his re-election was a pipe dream.

House Speaker John Boehner says Obama is playing a risky game. "If the president really wants to avoid sending the economy over the fiscal cliff, he has done nothing to demonstrate it," the speaker said.

White House advisers say the president wants to avoid going into next year without a tax and spending deal, a scenario they say would hurt the economy. Obama, addressing business leaders Wednesday, said the White House and Republicans could reach an agreement "in about a week" if the GOP drops its opposition to raising taxes on families making more than $250,000 a year.

"If we can get the leadership on the Republican side to take that framework, to acknowledge that reality, than the numbers actually aren't that far apart," Obama said.

But with few public signs that Republicans are close to taking that step, administration officials are hardening their warning that Obama willing to risk going over the cliff.

Of course, the White House warning could be a bluff, offered in the belief that Republicans are unlikely to back down on taxes unless they believe Obama is willing to go over the cliff.

The White House says Obama's firm stand on tax rate increases for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans is driven by economics. The debt-saddled country can't afford to continue with the George W. Bush-era tax cuts, the president and his advisers argue.

Obama has made that case to Republicans before only to back down in the final stages of negotiations. But this time around, the president and his team believe they hold the political leverage.

There is some evidence to bolster that notion. Taxes were a centerpiece of the presidential campaign, with Obama running on a pledge to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and return their rates to where they were in the 1990s, when the economy was thriving.

Exit polls showed that 60 percent of voters supported that position, an even higher percentage than backed Obama's re-election.

A new poll also suggests a majority of Americans would blame Republicans if the government goes over the fiscal cliff. Just 27 percent of those surveyed said they would blame Obama, compared with 53 percent who said they would point the finger at the GOP, according to the Washington Post-Pew Research Center Poll.

Seeking to cement those impressions, the White House is casting Republicans as willing to forgo tax cuts for the middle class in order to protect lower rates for wealthier Americans. Rates for all income earners will go up at the end of the year if both sides can't reach a deal.

In turn, Republicans say Obama is acting like a stubborn partisan who will put the economy in peril in order to get his way.

"My sense is the White House wants to go over the cliff," said Tony Fratto, a former Treasury and White House official under President George W. Bush. "That may be the only way they get rates they want."

Going over the cliff could mark a new low in the relationship between the president and congressional Republicans. While the contentious debates earlier in Obama's first term over funding the government and raising the nation's borrowing limit went right up to the edge, both sides were always able to reach a deal.

As Obama ran for re-election, he sought to assure voters weary of Washington's bickering that things would be better if he won a second term.

Speaking to supporters in June, he said, "I believe that if we're successful in this election — when we're successful in this election — that the fever may break."

"My hope, my expectation, is that after the election, now that it turns out that the goal of beating Obama doesn't make much sense because I'm not running again, that we can start getting some cooperation again," he added optimistically.

(This is an AP News analysis.)

Comments

goofus

And your proof is where?????

4shizzle

goofus

Did you ever turn your tv on to listern to the debates?

Later Goofus

goofus

Which debate did Romney say he was going to start many wars. Which one of the debates was it, c'mon I gots to know, for you sure seem to know everything. What were Romney's exact words? Please recite them for me!

the office cat

Yeah. Who cares? Who cared after 9/11 when Bush blew innocent Afghanis off the face of the Earth in retaliation and revenge? The entire country didn't fly the planes or participate in the deaths of 3,000. OH. I forgot! That was Bush. And what about all the innocent Iraquis who had nothing to do with 9/11? OH. I forgot, that was Bush.
@Contango. You have just outed yourself as a Red. As a hypocrit.

Randy_Marsh

So obama is just as bad as Bush, We know that already. Too bad you worshipers are hypocrits and should get help.

4shizzle

@ office cat

I also question Contango and Randy Marsh's loyalties, they both sound like they belong to a subversive political party.

Randy_Marsh

LOL! So following the constitution is now subversive? You need help as well.

4shizzle

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
I am anti terrorist, Pro rights. When the president gets to label ANYONE a terrorist and drone them without a trial that is not not pro-rights. Are you saying the ACLU is proterrorism? You need to take a step bank and take a look at what you are advocating. Did you scream about Bush killing people yet are quiet about Obama targeting his own citizens? Read up on your history, It is your type of thinking that has gotten millions killed.

4shizzle

@marsh

Wake up!

Earth is not Heaven.

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
You wake up, You are defending the government for taking away your rights promised in the constitution for the word of the government. I did not see a trial as every citizen has a right to, All i saw was a citizen getting killed from his own government and the loss of his rights. Terrorist love to kill US citizens without a trial as well, Which side are you on?

4shizzle

@ marsh

"All i saw was a citizen getting killed from his own government and the loss of his rights."
"All i saw .."
Pull your head out of your butt, al Qaeda chump.

Later Marsh

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
You honestly cannot see what you are advocating is the loss of your own rights garuanteed by the constitution? I am sure the terrorist would agree with you that the loss of rights by americans would be a good thing, Its one of the aims of their movements. The ACLU disagrees with you, Giving up your rights on the opinion of a government is a very dangerous thing.

4shizzle

@ marsh
I dont care what your messiah,savior, ACLU says.
They like to take away the rights of people too, like Christians and ONLY Christians.

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
You obviously do not care about your own rights either. Did you complain about Bush with the patriot act, But now it is being used by Obama it is OK? That my friend is hypocrisy. You are advocating ushering in the police state on the word of a government who has continually lied to you. Does not show anything besides you have jumped on the wagon giving up any thought you have for yourself or the rights of your fellow citizens.
P.S The ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union, It has civil Liberty and Union in the name so you should really like them)is not my lord and savior, It happends to be a organization put in place to hold people like you back from turning this place into a police state where no one has rights.

4shizzle

Talk to the hand.

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
Great comeback! Your Fitting in with the left perfectly, Follow whatever you are told to say and never carry on a intelligent discussion about anything.

4shizzle

Dont flatter yourself.
I am not carrying on an intelligent discussion with you.

Randy_Marsh

@4shizzle
Yeah i see that, Its not like i expected it from you.

4shizzle

you're not very intelligent

Randy_Marsh

Oh God, Namecalling, Now i expected that from you (Sorta predictable) LOL!

4shizzle

Yeah,I came right out and said it instead of insinuating it---like you did.

LOL

4shizzle

@marsh

Later, waste of time

Centauri

About the Cleveland IMC
The cleveland independent media center is part of the worldwide network of collectively run media outlets creating radical, accurate, and passionate tellings of truth. We work out of love and inspiration for the people who continue to work for a better world, despite corporate media's distortions and unwillingness to cover the efforts to free humanity.

http://cleveland.indymedia.org/

the office cat

And you are funded by whom?

mikel

way to funny! prez odufus invites al sharpton to the wh on tuesday to discuss his plan on robbing the rich. what makes it funny is that: sharpton owes the irs $2.6 million in back taxes as well as $900,000 in back taxes to the state of new york and approximately $880,000 in back payroll tax to the feds!!!!

i am just wondering why the prez didn't ask his boy to pay up? if the prez went through his rank and file dumbocrap supporters he could probably muster up a couple $hundred million$ in back taxes owed!!!!

the office cat

1. Again you didn't cite sources.
2. From this point forward, anytime you degrade the President with one of your ridiculous Mikassims, I will report it and call you on it.
3. I think we should start with collecting any back taxes you owe.

goofus

A good liberal whine,cry, and report people like good little nerds

mikel

well, the last time i put something in here the moderators decided to delete it because i was posting items from another news source. don't ask me ask them. apparently, posting items that are against the sr's theory is prohibited? but, i did find it in the ny post under "Taxes are for the little people". do something constructive with your time and google it.

i will call him whatever i want. thankfully, i have served in the armed forces, to fight for the freedom of speech. when did you serve? when did he serve? he is unworthy, imo, to be called president.

i pay my taxes, over $50,000 per year. how about you? living off of the system are you?

Sitting In The ...

Bash the President all you want but is it really to much to ask for the super rich to pay a little more in taxes?. Then when he presents a plan the Republicans shoot it down and give us some lame excuse about home schooling and The United Nations. That probably different then what you heard from Fox News right ?

Pages