President Obama campaigned on a platform of “asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little bit more”, as part of a “balanced approach” to reducing the deficit. He promised $3 in sending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases. He won the election with about 51% of the popular vote.
Americans also voted to keep Republicans in control of the House of Representatives. That seems to say many voters endorse the spending cut approach backed by the GOP.
But the proposals to avoid the “fiscal cliff” now being presented by the President are not in line with his campaign promises:
*Yesterday he rejected the entire plan presented by Republicans. That plan would have raised all the revenue Mr. Obama wants, but without the increase in tax rates for the wealthy that are the basis of the President’s worldview. Spending cuts in the proposal closely followed the Simpson-Bowles Committee plan.
* The President sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Giethner to present a proposal to Congress late last week. The plan had approximately $3 in increased revenue for each $1 of spending cuts – the opposite of the campaign promise 51% of Americans voted for.
The White House stance on the fiscal cliff ignores the fact that Moody’s rating service has said it will downgrade the US credit rating again if the government does not significantly reduce spending.
Yes, Mr. Obama won the election, so Republicans need to be somewhat accommodating about tax increases for upper income brackets and hope that future elections allow them to decrease rates eventually. At the same time, President Obama and the Democrats need to remember that only about 51% of the country back them and many of those voters were seduced by the “balanced approach” talk. Do the math. The 49% who voted for Mitt Romney want spending cuts, and many of those who voted for Mr. Obama would like spending cuts along with tax increases – so the majority of Americans prefer a deal that incorporates spending cuts. Mr. Obama needs to offer a serious plan to cut spending and reduce the deficit in accordance with the views of most Americans.