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Obama playing chicken with Republicans on fiscal cliff

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 12th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

President Obama is predicting that Republicans will give in to his demand that they hike taxes on the wealthy within the next 20 days. The prediction comes as Obama plays hardball with Republican leadership, refusing to discuss spending cuts until an agreement is reached to raise taxes.

LOS ANGELES, (Catholic Online) - Obama told reporters yesterday, "I'm pretty confident that Republicans would not hold middle class taxes hostage to trying to protect tax cuts for high-income individuals."

Obama wants to raise taxes on families earning $250,000 or more.

Early last week, it appeared as though a deal was imminent and many Republicans resigned themselves to some tax increases. However, as Republicans started to budge, Obama doubled-down on his rhetoric and refused to discuss spending cuts until tax increases were settled.

Republicans bucked the added pressure saying they wanted to discuss spending cuts before tax increases, leading both sides to the current impasse. 

Surveys show that Obama is holding the trump cards in the debate, since the public opinion polls show that Republicans will receive the lion's share of the blame if the country goes over the "fiscal cliff" on January 1. The fiscal cliff is the analogy that refers to a series of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that will occur if a new agreement isn't reached before the new year.

The issue at hand, of course, is as moral as it is political. Is it moral for taxpayers, regardless of personal wealth, to accept a tax increase when the government continues to spend irresponsibly at an astounding rate?

The government already faces the debt ceiling, which it expects to hit sometime early next year. That ceiling will have to be raised yet again, which will increase the national debt and the burden on future generations.

Both sides agree they do not want middle-class tax rates to increase, so there is some common ground which can form the basis of an agreement. However, with Republicans sticking to the moral high-ground and Democrats obsessed with tax hikes, it appears that either side is prepared to entertain a practical discussion on the matter and resolve the issue.

In the middle are the American people who face a recession throughout 2013, should the nation actually reach the fiscal cliff deadline without an agreement.

Still, the negotiations continue, even if they are largely unproductive at the end of the day. Hopefully with the looming deadline and added pressure from the public, which becomes more discontent every day, a renewed sense of seriousness can be reintroduced to the discussion - especially for Obama.

Playing chicken with the national economy is always bad policy, even if the polls suggest you might get away with it.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)