Obama Ups Public Pressure on Fiscal Cliff

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Dec. 1 2012 1:57 PM

Obama Increases Public Pressure on Republicans To Accept Fiscal Cliff Proposal

157234698
President Obama looks at a K'nex roller coaster at a manufacturing facility in Hatfield, Pennsylvania on Friday

Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

A day after President Obama upped the ante on fiscal cliff negotiations by saying Republicans were offering Americans “a lump of coal” for Christmas, he made it clear Saturday he isn’t backing down. In his weekly address, Obama accused Republicans of holding “middle clas tax cuts hostage,” saying the public needs to pressure lawmakers to prevent an increase in the taxes paid by middle-income Americans as part of the infamous fiscal cliff. “A typical middle class family of four will see their income taxes rise by $2,200,” Obama said. “We can’t let that happen. Our families can’t afford it, and neither can our economy.” The president said the public should let lawmakers know “what $2,000 means to you.” If you choose to contact your lawmaker via Twitter, Obama helpfully suggests you should use the hashtag My2K. (Watch address after the jump.)

On Friday, President Obama traveled to a toy manufacturing company in Pennsylvania to deliver what the Washington Post calls “a verbal poke in the eye,” likening House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans in general to “one of the most reviled figures of the holiday season.” In what the Wall Street Journal describes as a “provocative set of demands,” President Obama called for a $1.6 trillion tax increase, $50 billion in infrastructure spending next year, and new power to raise the debt limit. Republicans quickly responded that offer actually signified a step away from a compromise although they have yet to put a comparable proposal up for debate. And while some accused Democrats of overreaching, several lawmakers say Republicans are playing up their outrage for the cameras and that this is the way negotiations work, reports the Hill.

Advertisement

Republicans quickly responded with a video claiming Obama’s plan was bad for small business. It amounted to the “first post-election skirmish outside Congress or the White House,” points out the Los Angeles Times. And it likely won’t be the last as we enter the countdown of the final month before widespread tax hikes and spending cuts will come into effect. Democrats are trying to force Republicans to agree to an early tax-hike vote in the House, although that now seems like a long-shot at best.

While Obama tried to express optimism by saying Democrats and Republicans “can and will work together,” Boehner said that negotiations are “almost nowhere.” The next stage in this argument will undoubtedly come Sunday, when both sides will go to the political talk shows to press their case, points out Reuters.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don’t Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.

Republicans Want the Government to Listen to the American Public on Ebola. That’s a Horrible Idea.

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Tom Hanks Has a Short Story in the New Yorker. It’s Not Good.

Brow Beat

Marvel’s Civil War Is a Far-Right Paranoid Fantasy

It’s also a mess. Can the movies do better?

Watching Netflix in Bed. Hanging Bananas. Is There Anything These Hooks Can’t Solve?

The Procedural Rule That Could Prevent Gay Marriage From Reaching SCOTUS Again

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 20 2014 8:14 PM You Should Be Optimistic About Ebola Don’t panic. Here are all the signs that the U.S. is containing the disease.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 20 2014 7:23 PM Chipotle’s Magical Burrito Empire Keeps Growing, Might Be Slowing
  Life
Outward
Oct. 20 2014 3:16 PM The Catholic Church Is Changing, and Celibate Gays Are Leading the Way
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I Am 25. I Don't Work at Facebook. My Doctors Want Me to Freeze My Eggs.
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 20 2014 7:15 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 9 A spoiler-filled discussion of "Flatline."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 20 2014 9:13 PM The Smart, Talented, and Utterly Hilarious Leslie Jones Is SNL’s Newest Cast Member
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 20 2014 4:59 PM Canadian Town Cancels Outdoor Halloween Because Polar Bears
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 20 2014 11:46 AM Is Anybody Watching My Do-Gooding? The difference between being a hero and being an altruist.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.