The Magazine

Spender in Chief

The president doesn’t want a deal; he wants higher taxes, on his terms.

Dec 17, 2012, Vol. 18, No. 14 • By FRED BARNES
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One could argue this would give Obama exactly what he relishes: more tax revenue and less defense spending. But the price would be high. The chance of a recession would increase significantly. He’d try to blame it on Republicans, but recessions are always named for presidents.

His second term would be an ordeal. For four years, he and Republicans would fight over spending, taxes, and the bad economy. Should the media finally turn on Obama, he would face a gauntlet of merciless critics.

And there’s something bigger at stake to which Obama often seems oblivious. Presidents are expected to lead. They’re supposed to rise above partisan disputes and produce favorable results. Would Ronald Reagan or Lyndon Johnson or Bill Clinton allow the country to fall into a fiscal abyss?

As he closed his speech to the Business Roundtable, Obama indulged in more lip service. He’s for bipartisanship. “We’re not insisting on [higher] rates just out of spite or out of any kind of partisan bickering,” he said. As with all lip service, the opposite is true.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.


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