Right-Wing Media Lay Groundwork To Blame Obama If Super Committee Does Not Reach A Deal

››› ››› ANDY NEWBOLD & MARCUS FELDMAN

The right wing media have claimed that President Obama is deliberately sabotaging the super committee's negotiations to reach a deal to decrease the deficit in an attempt to strengthen his re-election prospects. But Obama has repeatedly urged the super committee to come to a compromise, while the Republicans on the super committee have refused to compromise, instead proposing massive tax giveaways for the richest Americans and even more massive cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other programs Americans rely on.

Conservative Media Claim Democrats Are Sabotaging The Super Committee To Help Obama

George Will: "Obama Needs Congressional Failure As He Seeks Reelection." From George Will's November 17 Washington Post column, titled "Spending's ascending -- with or without a budget sequester":

Born during what is mistakenly called the debt-ceiling "debacle" last summer, the congressional supercommittee may die without agreeing to a 10-year, $1.2 trillion (at least) deficit-reduction plan. This is not properly labeled a failure. Committee Democrats demanded more revenue; Republicans offered $500 billion; Democrats responded with the one-syllable distillation of liberalism: "More!" So the committee's work has been a clarifying event that presages a larger one -- next November's elections.

[...]

Regarding the supercommittee, Harry Reid's and Obama's interests diverge. Imitation is the sincerest form of politics, and Obama needs congressional failure as he seeks reelection by emulating Harry Truman in 1948, running against a "do-nothing" Congress. [The Washington Post, 11/17/11]

Limbaugh: "Obama's Entire Strategy Is No Deal." From the November 16 broadcast of Premiere Radio Network's The Rush Limbaugh Show:

Obama's entire reelection strategery is to blame Congress for not producing legislation that he wants, that will create jobs, that will reduce the deficit, all this smoke and mirror stuff, all these lies coming out of the White House. Obama's entire strategy is no deal. That equals a do-nothing Congress. Legislation that will drive the country further into debt and put billions into the pockets of public sector union campaign donors and foot soldiers, that's what Obama wants.

If Republicans don't bend to greater spending demands, the president has an entire campaign strategy to accuse them of being a do-nothing Congress, and the Republicans, all they have to do to fall into it trap is have no deal. Obama's praying for super committee failure. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 11/16/11, via RushLimbaugh.com]

Newsmax Quoted Grover Norquist As Saying That "Democrats Plan To Torpedo Any Possible Deal" To Help Re-Elect Obama. A November 16 Newsmax article titled "Democrats Sabotaging Supercommittee to Help Obama" reported that Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist said that "he is convinced Democrats plan to torpedo any possible deal in the supercommittee to further the re-election plans of President Barack Obama":

Conservative activist Grover Norquist, who invented the "anti-tax increase" tax pledge embraced by Republicans, tells Newsmax that he is convinced Democrats plan to torpedo any possible deal in the supercommittee to further the re-election plans of President Barack Obama.

The Obama campaign's "narrative has got to be the Republican Congress is the problem," Norquist said in an exclusive interview on Wednesday. "Therefore, I believe the Democrats will sink the supercommittee in order to say that the Republicans were unreasonable." [Newsmax, 11/16/11]

But Obama Has Urged The Super Committee To "Get The Job Done" ...

Obama To Super Committee Leaders: "Get The Job Done." From a November 11 Los Angeles Times report:

President Obama on Friday prodded the chairs of the super committee "to get the job done," with less than two weeks left for congressional leaders to reach agreement on a $1.5-trillion deficit reduction panel.

Obama phoned Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) separately from Air Force One shortly after leaving Washington for a nine-day trip overseas, to get an update on the committee's progress. [Los Angeles Times, 11/11/11]

Obama: The Super Committee Should "Do What Needs To Be Done" And "Bite The Bullet" On Deficit Deal. At a November 14 news conference in Hawaii, Obama urged the super committee to reach a consensus on a deficit-reduction plan. From the conference:

My hope is that over the next several days, the congressional leadership on the super committee go ahead and bite the bullet and do what needs to be done -- because the math won't change. There's no magic formula. There are no magic beans that you can toss on the ground and suddenly a bunch of money grows on trees. We got to just go ahead and do the responsible thing. And I'm prepared to sign legislation that is balanced, that solves this problem. [WhiteHouse.gov, 11/14/11]

... While GOP Leadership Has Made Clear That Their Top Goal Is To Defeat Obama, Not Compromise

Mitch McConnell: "The Single Most Important Thing We Want To Achieve Is For President Obama To Be A One-Term President." From an interview with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by the National Journal:

McConnell We need to be honest with the public. This election is about them, not us. And we need to treat this election as the first step in retaking the government. We need to say to everyone on Election Day, "Those of you who helped make this a good day, you need to go out and help us finish the job."

NJ What's the job?

McConnell The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president. [National Journal, 10/23/10]

And The GOP's Super Committee Proposal Is No Real Compromise At All ...

Reuters: "Republicans Proposed A $2.2 Trillion Deficit Reduction Plan Heavy On Spending Cuts And Light On Tax Increases." From a Reuters post reporting on a Republican deficit-reduction plan presented to the super committee at a closed-door session:

The Republican plan proposes cutting $500 billion from the Medicare health insurance program for retirees, in part by raising premiums, congressional aides said. It would also cut $185 billion from the Medicaid health plan for the poor and $100 billion from other healthcare programs.

It includes a tax overhaul that would close loopholes and breaks for targeted industries, but those savings would be used to lower overall tax rates. Republicans say that approach would generate hundreds of billions of dollars in tax revenue from the increased economic growth that would presumably follow. [Reuters, 10/27/11]

CBPP: GOP Proposal "Adds Little Balance," Makes Bush Tax Cuts Permanent. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

Senator Pat Toomey and other Republicans on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction ("Supercommittee") portray their new offer to raise close to $300 billion in revenues (under a plan to reduce deficits by about $1.5 trillion over ten years) as a significant concession, and some observers have suggested it represents a welcome first step toward a balanced deficit reduction plan to put the budget on a sustainable path. But a closer examination of the proposal raises grave concerns and indicates that, in fact, it adds little balance.

It uses savings from closing tax loopholes and narrowing other tax expenditures mainly to set tax rates permanently at levels well below those of President Bush's tax cuts, and to make permanent both the highly preferential treatment of capital gains and dividend income under the Bush tax cuts and the temporary hollowing out of the estate tax for estates of the wealthiest one-quarter of 1 percent of Americans that Congress enacted in late 2010. Consequently, the proposal seems designed to make only a modest revenue contribution toward deficit reduction and then to take revenues off the table for the larger rounds of deficit reduction that must follow. Moreover, even while yielding modest savings, the revenue component would make the package less balanced by conferring large new tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans while forcing low- and middle-income Americans to bear most of the plan's budget cuts as well as its tax increases.

By permanently locking in tax rates well below the Bush levels, the plan would remove the potential to secure $800 billion in deficit reduction by letting the Bush tax cuts for households with incomes over $250,000 expire on schedule at the end of 2012, and it would remove the leverage that the scheduled expiration of these tax cuts provides to those who seek balanced deficit reduction with a substantial revenue contribution. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/10/11]

CBPP: "The Republican Proposal Would Significantly Shift Tax Burden" From The Rich To Poor And Middle Class. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:

[T]he Republican proposal would significantly shift tax burdens from high-income to lower- and middle-income taxpayers. High-income taxpayers would benefit enormously from the proposed cut in tax rates, while lower- and middle-income taxpayers would suffer disproportionately from the proposed reductions in tax expenditures, since the plan shields the main tax expenditure for the highest-income Americans - the highly preferential treatment of capital gains and dividend income. Preliminary estimates by the Joint Committee on Taxation of a plan similar to the Republican proposal indicate that taxpayers with incomes above $200,000 would get tax cuts significantly larger than the already-highly-lucrative tax cuts they will get if Congress extends all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. The new tax cuts would be the largest for people with the highest incomes - those with incomes above $1 million would get a new tax cut of more than $30,000 a year, on average, on top of the tax cuts they would get from making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent. The Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates that those households are receiving an average tax cut of $129,000 this year from the existing Bush tax cuts; thus, the total tax cut for these very well-off households could exceed $150,000 a year, on average, under the Republican plan.

[...]

In contrast, taxpayers with incomes below $200,000 would see their tax bills rise, on average, compared to current policies. These additional taxes on lower- and middle-income Americans would come on top of the effects of the nearly $900 billion in spending cuts over ten years under the Republican plan, which would fall disproportionately on them because they are more dependent on Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs slated for cuts than are higher-income Americans. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/10/11, emphasis added]

... While Democrats Have Offered A Balanced Approach Of Revenue Increases And Spending Cuts

CPBB: Democrats' Super Committee Offer Includes Both Revenue Increases And Spending Cuts. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has prepared the below chart comparing the proposals by Democrats and Republicans on the super committee as well as other proposals:

[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/10/11]

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