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Posted by on Sep 19, 2011 in Economy, Politics | 30 comments

Obama On Proposed $1.5 Trillion In New Taxes: “This Is Not Class Warfare, It’s Math”

President Barack Obama unveiled his profusely leaked proposal for more than $1 trillion in new taxes mostly on the country’s wealthiest Americans and threw down the gauntlet to Republicans in more ways than one. His key phrase that will be carried on talk radio and cable shows (friendly and unfriendly to him), news websites and blogs (partisans of the left and right and independent) will be this:

“This is not class warfare, it’s math.”

Some will dismiss it as defensive, but it’s actually going on the political offensive: one justified criticism of Obama is that he lets political narratives develop among his political foes until they fester and grow and jumps in too late to counter them. Additionally, his party’s liberal base wants him to start calling out GOPers on their attempts to define Obama and the Democratic party. Here’s the gist of his speech:

President Barack Obama, setting up another clash with Republicans, has proposed $1.5 trillion in new taxes aimed primarily at the wealthy as part of a deficit reduction plan.

The president pitched his plan Monday morning from the Rose Garden at the White House.

“Today, I’m releasing a plan which details how to pay for the jobs bill, while also paying down our debt over time,” said Obama about his recently-released plan to ease the nation’s unhealthy unemployment rate.

“Washington has to live within its means,” continued the president. “For us to solve this problem everybody … has to pay their fair share.”


Obama added, “I’m proposing real cuts to spending. These would be among the biggest cuts in our history … This plan eliminates tax loopholes that primarily go to the largest corporations.”

“We can’t afford these special lower rates for the wealthy — rates, by the way, that were meant to be temporary.”

Challenged Obama, “Nobody wants to punish success in America … those who have done well, including me, should pay our fair share … we shouldn’t get a better deal than ordinary families get.”

Responding to a common complaint from Republicans, he said, “This is not class warfare, it’s math.”

Here’s the video that shows his complete speech:

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Clearly, the proposal is D.O.A. — and most assuredly Obama & Co. know it. But they are a)proposing it because they believe it just be done b)proposing it because it definitively defines their position and the Republicans. The question is whether he’ll see an increase in support from his base if disappointed Democrats return to the fold — and whether independents feel he’s less of a risk and makes more sense than whoever the GOP runs against him. The flaw in this strategy: if the economy continues to tank then it doesn’t matter how logical his argument is, many voters may want a change — unless they feel Republicans are the ones hurting the economy, versus his administration’s ineptness.

The copyrighted cartoon by Kap, La Vanguardia, Spain, is licensed to run on TMV. Uanuthorized reproduction prohibited.