The president will undoubtedly be an important player in this process and has already made it clear that he will veto any bill that does not allow a tax increase on households earning more than $250,000 per year. In fact, during a recent appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Obama’s senior campaign adviser David Axelrod stated that the president “has a mandate” to raise taxes on wealthy Americans. Setting aside for a moment the inconvenient fact (for Obama and his cronies) that the president does not have the power to tax anyone, someone should remind Axelrod that his man won the popular vote by a mere 3.4 million votes out of over 121 million votes cast. Obama received 7 million fewer votes in this election than he received in 2008. Although it is not uncommon for the winning candidate to claim a mandate for his policies, it is clear from the election results that the nation’s electorate remains deeply divided, but clearly unwilling to give anyone a mandate to do anything. Based on the results, neither the left nor the right can claim that its plans to avoid going over the fiscal cliff should be fast-tracked for approval and implementation.
It appears then that Obama and congressional leaders need to be ready to listen to each other’s ideas with an eye toward finding whatever common ground is left in Washington, D.C. This may be problematic, because Obama appears determined to cling to his class warfare tactic of raising taxes on those earning more than $250,000 per year, although anyone who is willing to do the math can see that those higher taxes will have practically zero effect on reducing ongoing budget deficits.
On the other hand, realizing that compromise will be necessary, Rep. David Scott (D-south Cobb) told the MDJ recently that even though he favors allowing taxes to be raised on families making more than $250,000, he would be willing to compromise by allowing taxes to be raised just on families making more than $500,000. Unfortunately, there are shrill voices on the left who continue to insist that the tax cuts for high earners be allowed to expire.
In an NPR interview, Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union, repeated the left’s mantra that the “wealthiest among us must pay their ‘fair share’” three times in a four minute interview and said that compromise does not make sense until the Republicans agree to raise taxes on families making more than $250,000. I am afraid Ms. Henry is representative of many on the left who will be unwilling to allow Obama to budge on the issue. For many on the left like Ms. Henry, it appears that “compromise” is defined as “agreeing with us.”
Jerry Landers is an attorney in Marietta.