Obama: 'I'm ready to compromise over everything but what I want'by Anne Ouncer
July 28, 2011, Washington, D.C.— President Obama today said he is finally ready to compromise with Republicans over raising the debt limit but refuses to compromise over his most important demands.
"Compromise has become a dirty word," the president said. "Some people have said I'm not willing to compromise, but it's the Republicans who won't compromise. Nobody is more willing to compromise than I am to make sure that taxes go up and our nation is allowed to borrow more and spend more."
The president listed five ways he is prepared to compromise to gain the concessions he wants from House Republicans.
"I'm willing to compromise our nation's financial stability, our bond rating, our economic recovery, the welfare of our senior citizens and the security of our military personnel," he said, "so nobody has the right to say that I'm not willing to compromise."
Obama yesterday rejected spending cuts proposed by Speaker of the House John Boehner, calling them "rushed and irresponsible." He said he will accept spending cuts that start no sooner than 2016 as long as such cuts are in the rate of spending growth and not in actual spending.
White House Economic Adviser Baugh Rowe Moore said Congress must raise the debt limit because federal spending exceeds federal revenues.
"Economic disaster would result if we stop spending more money than we bring in," Moore said. "The president is proposing a balanced plan: Raise the debt limit, increase spending until he leaves office, and raise taxes on citizens who have more money than they need and are, therefore, likely to vote for Republicans."
In a Monday speech that interrupted a broadcast of "The Bachelorette" Obama accused Republicans of not compromising.
"Republicans are afraid they won't get reelected if they raise taxes," he said. "But my position is uncompromising: They must compromise."
The president said any Congressman or Senator who won't compromise deserves to be thrown out of office.
"Sooner or later Congress is going to realize that I'm not giving in," he said. "And so I'm demanding that Republicans compromise now, or I might be forced to bypass Congress to ensure that taxes go up, spending increases and our deficit grows."
Boehner said that he has been trying unsuccessfully to persuade President Obama to compromise.
"Congress is willing to compromise," he said. "The Republicans are willing to compromise by getting rid of unfair and unpopular tax loopholes. Some Democrats in the House and the Senatre are willing to compromise by cutting spending. But President Obama is saying it's my way or the highway."
Rep. Earl E. Ryzer (R-PA) said his colleagues in Congress conservatives are reluctant to raise taxes because taking money away from employers and consumers would hurt the economy.
"When people buy things and hire other Americans," he said, "that helps the economy. But if we take more money from citizens who would otherwise spend it, that doesn't create jobs or create demand for goods and services."
But one of the leading Democrats in Congress, Rep. F. Lauer Childe (D-CA) said there has never been a better time to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations.
"About 10 percent of taxpayers are paying 90 percent of federal income taxes," he said. "That is patently unfair. The president wants a more balanced approach and wants to see that percentage rise to 95 percent."
The president's redistribution czar, Peytons Tellet Hertz, said wealthy taxpayers currently are allowed to keep an excessive percentage of their income.
"Currently a wealthy citizen is allowed to keep almost half of the money that he earns," Hertz said. "That is far too much. We are seeking a return to the tax rates we had when FDR was president when the wealthy were taxed at 90 percent."
Some observers said there are encouraging signs that Republicans are willing to compromise.
"Sen. John McCain showed great courage last night when he told Sean Hannity that Republicans must give in to Mr. Obama's torture techniques," said ABC's political analyst, Ferris Wheeler. "He wisely understands that if the Republicans can't get what they want, they must give President Obama what he wants, or they will be blamed if President Obama shuts down the government by vetoing a Republican spending bill."
Quote of the Day
"I wasn't criticizing the Tea Party. I was just reading an editorial that was criticizing the Tea Party." — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)