Obama uses Twitter to demand tax increase

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
Font Size:

President Barack Obama on Monday used Twitter to insist GOP lawmakers end their decades-long ideological stand against higher tax rates.

“We can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future,” he tweeted at the start of his 2. p.m. EST question-and-answer session on the social-media site.

Obama also exploited widespread middle-class anxiety over the economy to bolster his push for higher taxes.

“If top rates don’t go up, danger that middle class deductions get hit,” he answered a tweeted question at 2:49 p.m.

The president disavowed any cuts to the fast-growing federal budget, even though a third of the budget is funded by trillion-dollar deficits. Those deficits have helped boosted the federal debt by $5 trillion during his tenure.

“Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D, edu that help growth & jobs, or hurt vulnerable (eg disabled),” he said. (RELATED VIDEO: Krauthammer tells GOP to ‘walk away’ from Obama’s fiscal-cliff proposal)

Obama’s broad-shouldered push for a GOP ideological concession on tax increases is entwined in the furious arguments concerning the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

During a series of budget deals in 2010 and 2011, Democrats and Republicans agreed to delay a series of scheduled economy-damaging tax-increases and spending cuts until Jan. 1, after the 2012 election.

Unless they’re halted, those scheduled spending cuts and tax increases will drain $500 billion from the economy during the next 12 months, partly by raising taxes on middle-class families by roughly $2,000 per year.

That middle-class tax increase is caused by the planned expiration of former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, which Obama extended in 2010.

To head off this spending problem, House Republicans have agreed to remove many tax breaks used by wealthy Americans in exchange for cuts to Democratic-favored spending programs.

In contrast, Obama’s proposed 10-year fix would boost taxes by $1.6 trillion, launch a new stimulus costing at least $50 billion and begin negotiations to cut roughly $600 billion from the government’s spending plans.

Obama’s conditional $600 billion cut amounts to roughly one percent of the planned $45 trillion in spending over the next decade.

Under Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has grown to $11.4 trillion, prompting several credit-rating agencies to downgrade the nation’s credit in 2011 and 2012. Unless the annual deficit and accumulated debt are reined in, financial analysts predict a major economic crash even ore ruinous than the 2008 crash caused by federal housing policy.

Obama and his deputies are using the crises to insist that the GOP break its ideological opposition to higher tax rates, and to formally declare that higher tax rates are needed.

“Rates have to rise, and the Republicans need to acknowledge that,” White House spokesman Jay Carney declared Dec 3. “That’s the only way to get from here to there.”

Republicans have refused to increase tax rates on investors and business owners, saying tax hikes would slow economic growth, reduce employment and boost government’s ambition and reach.

Republicans also say that a concession on tax rates would weaken the party prior to the 2014 midterm elections, when Obama is expected to push for a Democratic majority in the House.

Obama used his Twitter exchange to push for a GOP cave-in on taxes.

The GOP’s proposal to curb tax breaks used by the wealthy won’t raise enough taxes, he said.

“Not enough revenue, unless you end charitable deductions, etc. less revenue=more cuts in education ec,” Obama responded to one questioner.

“Keep pressure on Congress. Call, email, tweet your Member & tell them what 2k means to you. Lets get it done,” he tweeted at 2:28 p.m.

Spending “cuts w/out revenue = reductions in student loans; work/study & college tax credits expire. Bad for growth. like your hair!,” Obama declared.

White House officials say the president types his own Twitter messages.

Follow Neil on Twitter