Sen. Thune: Obama has ‘obsession with raising taxes’ [VIDEO]

Nicholas Ballasy Senior Video Reporter
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Republican South Dakota Sen. John Thune said President Obama seems to have an “obsession with raising taxes” as part of a deficit reduction deal between the White House and congressional leaders to avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

Thune, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, added that such a policy would only raise enough revenue to fund “about a week” of government spending.

“So far, at least, all we’ve seen is this rhetoric about taxes. He’s even gone double where he was during the campaign. He said $800 billion in revenues. Now he’s talking about $1.6 trillion in tax increases. The president seems to have an obsession with raising taxes,” Thune said Monday on CNBC.

“Anybody who studies this knows full well that that doesn’t solve the problem. Even the $800 billion, which would include income tax rate increases on marginal income tax, as well as capital gains and dividends, gets you $800 billion, which funds the government for about a week.”

Thune, who also serves on the Finance Committee, said the White House and Congress should agree on a plan to reform Medicare and Social Security for future generations. (RELATED: Boehner: Going off fiscal cliff is Obama’s deliberate strategy)

“I would vote for something that would address the issue and solve the problem, which really is we’ve got to reform and restructure these entitlement programs, which is why it’s so important that the president come to the table with a plan,” Thune said.

“Republicans are at the table saying we’re putting revenues on the table, which is a hard place to go for most Republicans. But the president hasn’t met us there with what he knows and what we know ultimately has to be fixed.”

Republicans have offered to raise revenue through reforming the tax code. Thune disagrees with the ten-year plan proposed by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, which includes $1.6 trillion in tax increases, $200 billion of stimulus spending, $400 billion in spending cuts, and the authority to unilaterally raise the nation’s debt limit without Congress.

“If you give him the rate increases on just the top two rates, which is what he said he really wants, that’s $442 billion over 10, or about $40 billion a year. I mean, that doesn’t fund the government for half a week,” said Thune.

Geithner has said the White House is ready to go over the fiscal cliff if Republicans do not agree to raise taxes on families making over $250,000 per year.

“I think he’s [Obama] got the bully pulpit. And their rhetoric has been such that we — it’s concerning, in my view, at least, that they’re talking about going over the fiscal cliff. I think that’s a big mistake. But the president right now, that’s sort of the line he’s drawn in the sand,” Thune said.

“We hope that, if at least he’s going to draw a line in the sand, that he’ll come to the Capitol and I’m glad to hear at least there were some discussions yesterday with Speaker Boehner and talk about a, quote, ‘balanced plan,’ which he’s always said he wants. But to have a balanced plan, you’ve got to have these entitlement programs in that discussion.”

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