Boehner recruits 2011 Obama for fiscal cliff talks

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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To showcase his argument for increased tax-revenue without increased tax-rates, House Speaker John Boehner has drafted the 2011 version of President Barack Obama.

Boehner’s office highlighted Obama’s 2011 claim that $1.2 trillion could be extracted in extra revenues, even without extra tax-rates.

“What we said was, ‘Give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues, which could be accomplished without hiking taxes — tax rates — but could simply be accomplished by eliminating loopholes, eliminating some deductions and engaging in a tax reform process that could have lowered rates generally while broadening the base,’” Obama told the media said during deficit-and-debt reduction talks in mid-2011.

That’s a far different stance from the post-election 2011 Obama, who is demanding that Republicans publicly declare the need for extra taxes, supposedly because loophole-closing would raise only a few hundred billion dollars over a decade.

“When you look at how much revenue you can actually raise by closing loopholes and deductions, it’s probably in the range of $300 billion to $400 billion,” Obama said in a Dec. 4 interview on Bloomberg TV.

The only way to raised greater funds, he said, “would be if you completely eliminated, for example, charitable deductions.”

“If you eliminated charitable deductions, that means every hospital and university and not-for-profit agency across the country would suddenly find themselves on the verge of collapse,” he said.

However, the GOP proposals call for caps on deductions, including home mortgage deductions and charitable deductions, avoiding any impact on small-sized and medium-sized donations by at least 80 percent of Americans, and also by many of the 20 percent of tax-payers who itemize their taxes.

Obama’s reversal of his 2011 stance, and his dismissal of loophole-closing, could be tied to his post-election political ambitions.

GOP staffers suggest that Obama’s insistence that Republicans break their ideological commitment against tax rate increases shows that he is seeking a political victory for 2014, not an economic deal that helps the economy in 2013.

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