Krauthammer: ‘Give Obama the Full Clinton’

Friday, 30 Nov 2012 02:12 PM

By Michael Kling

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Budget negotiations aimed at avoiding the fiscal cliff are supposed to be about taking a balanced approach.

However, President Barack Obama's initial offer is anything but that, writes Washington Post opinion writer Charles Krauthammer.

"Obama’s audacious new gambit is not a serious proposal to solve our fiscal problems," Krauthammer states. "It’s a raw partisan maneuver meant to neuter the Republicans by getting them to cave on their signature issue as the hold-the-line party on taxes."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

Obama has two objectives, he asserts. The first is to create "internecine warfare" over taxes among Republicans. The second is to "bury Grover Norquist," the conservative activist known for pressing Republicans to pledge not to raise taxes.

Obama is succeeding in his first goal, Krauthammer says.

And Republicans are playing into Obama's hand, he writes. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, made a preemptive concession by agreeing to raise revenue and prompted Republican infighting by proposing to cap deductions.

Republicans assume Obama has the stronger hand so think they must try to get the best deal now before taxes increase across the board on Jan. 1, he says. If we go over the fiscal cliff, they fear they won't have any bargaining chips and that they'll be blamed.

Yet Obama also has a lot to lose. Although he's not worried about re-election, if an agreement is not reached, his legacy will be a double-dip recession with 9 percent unemployment.

If a resolution does not include serious budget cuts and entitlement cuts, Republicans should get ready to go over the cliff with Obama, Krauthammer argues.

"Republicans have to stop playing as if they have no cards."

Obama wants to go back to the tax rates from the Clinton administration.

"So give Obama the full Clinton. Let him live with that. And with what also lies on the other side of the cliff: 28 million Americans newly subject to the ruinous alternative minimum tax."

Divisions in Republican ranks seem to be appearing. Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., says Republicans should extend tax cuts for incomes under $250,000, then negotiate about higher income earners separately, CNN reports.

Other Republicans reject his idea.

"I think he's wrong and I think most of the conference thinks that he's wrong," Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, tells CNN.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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