Republicans entrench on taxes as Dems refuse to talk cuts
Fiscal cliff crisis looms larger.
Republicans and Democrats are moving farther away from a deal as both sides entrench. Republicans are preparing to draw a hard line on taxes as Democrats becoming increasingly reticent to discuss spending cuts.
Obama's hardball tactics may prove disastrous as Boehner tries to bring the President back to the table.
The national debt now exceeds $16 trillion and continues to grow, unchecked. Obama has insisted on raising taxes on the highest earners, a move that Republicans fear will stifle economic growth and recovery, while refusing to discuss spending cuts.
However, a revenue-only approach to the problem will not close the massive spending gap.
Now Republicans are giving the Democrats a taste of their own medicine saying they will not support any tax increases, not even on the wealthy. The move is designed to bring the Democrats back to the table to discuss the out-of-control spending that's ongoing in Washington.
Many Republicans remain willing to exchange tax increases on wealthy Americans in exchange for cuts in entitlement programs such as Medicare.
A failure to reach an agreement in the coming weeks will plunge the nation over the proverbial "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will be painful for both sides. It is widely agreed that going over the cliff will spark a recession that could last for most of 2013.
However, analysts think Obama has little to lose by going over the cliff, which emboldens him to play chicken with Republicans.
Public opinion polls already say two-thirds of the public will blame Republicans, rather than Obama, should the fiscal cliff be reached without a deal.
Given these numbers, Obama is in such a strong position he can get away, and may even get ahead, by letting any negotiations fail. By refusing to discuss spending cuts, he is already setting the stage for such a failure.
A change in public opinion may be necessary before Republicans can regain some chance at reigning in Obama.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: Obama, Boehner, fiscal cliff, debt, crisis, recession
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