Negotiations between Democrats and Republicans on reducing the nation's long-term debt in exchange for raising the debt ceiling have ground, if not to a halt, then at least to a slothful crawl over whether tax increases will be part of the solution. Democrats insist that a balanced approach to lowering the nation's debt must include not just spending cuts, but also tax increases of some kind. Republicans would rather kill their firstborn.
In an effort to push though the impasse, President Obama tried to apply a bit of public pressure on the GOP in a rare press conference today. As politicians often do, he explained how his position is reasonable and middle-of-the-road, while the Republican position is stubborn and extreme. Obama insisted that the tax increases he supports are aimed only at our nation's most wealthy and unsympathetic targets, such as oil companies and private-jet owners, and taking money from them surely makes more sense than cutting ever more services to the sick, poor, and elderly. He continued, as transcribed by CBS News:
"If everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, then I think it would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that, 'The tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to the table and get a deal done,' or, 'We're so concerned about protecting oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are making money hand over fist, that's the reason we're not going to come to a deal,'" he said. "I don't think that's a sustainable position."
But what would he do if Republicans remain firm in their opposition to any tax increases as the deadline approaches? Will Cavey McCavesalot cave once again in order to save the economy from certain doom? It's a good question that Obama had no interest in answering. Instead, he expressed his trademark hope that Republicans would eventually become "responsible" people and come around to his reasonable point of view.