Obama Demands $1.1 Trillion Tax Hike, Won't Get Specific on Spending Cuts
1:17 PM, Sep 10, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
During an interview Sunday on Face the Nation, GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was pressed repeatedly by host Norah O'Donnell for specifics on the Romney-Ryan tax reform plan. But Obama made it through an interview that aired on the same program without being pressed for specifics on his own tax and spending plans.
"There isn't a Romney plan that's been specific about which deductions and loopholes he will close," O'Donnell said. Romney has proposed a tax reform that would lower tax rates and reduce or eliminate tax loopholes to make up for any loss in revenue.
Ryan mentioned studies that show it is possible to lower rates and reduce or nix loopholes without having a net tax increase on the middle class, and he said that a Romney administration would work with the new Congress on dealing with specific loopholes.
"We want to have a debate out in front, work with Congress, work with the public to find out what are the priorities we want to have in the tax system," Ryan said.
Asking Ryan to name which loopholes he and Romney will close is a perfectly fine question. (I asked him the same question in April 2011.) But compare and contrast CBS's Ryan interview with its Obama interview on the very same program (emphasis added):
The follow-up questions for Obama are pretty obvious: What specifically would he cut?
If Obama wants a $4 trillion deficit reduction package that has a 2.5-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to revenue increases, how would he cut $2.9 trillion in spending and raise $1.1 trillion in revenues?
We know that he'd like to raise taxes on those making more than $250,000, but that would still leave him a few hundred billion short of $1.1 trillion.
Obama says the Romney-Ryan plans for Medicare and Medicaid are bad, but at least they've been specific on how they'd reform these programs. How exactly would Obama keep "costs low" for Medicare and Medicaid? Where is his plan?
But Obama wasn't subjected to specific, pointed questions like Paul Ryan was. The president gets away with a vague promises about taking a "balanced approach" and being "willing to do more" on deficit reduction.
One final point: Obama's insistence on a 2.5-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes does not show that he's willing to go back to the "grand bargain" he and John Boehner entertained in 2011--that is a rejection of the "grand bargain." As Obama publicly acknowledged in a July 2011 news conference, the deal he and Boehner were entertaining involved $800 billion in revenue and $3.2 trillion in spending cuts--a ratio of 4-to-1, not 2.5-to-1. Obama said he couldn't "stomach" that deal.
"There were about $800 billion in revenue that were going to be available," Obama said at a White House press conference. "And what we said was when you’ve got a ratio of $4 in cuts for every $1 of revenue, that’s pretty hard to stomach."
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