President Obama ramped up the pressure on congressional Republicans to accept the principle of shared sacrifice and stop shielding “millionaires and billionaires” from paying their fair share of the cost of deficit reduction.
While the President did not embrace the 1-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax increases on the wealthy, called for by Sen. Bernie Sanders and the Campaign for America’s Future, he decimated the Republican position that everyone should take a hit except for the wealthiest:
I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans. And I want to extend those middle-class tax cuts.
The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners…
…Any agreement to reduce our deficit is going to require tough decisions and balanced solutions. And before we ask our seniors to pay more for health care, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys…
…If you are a wealthy CEO or a hedge fund manager in America right now, your taxes are lower than they have ever been. They’re lower than they’ve been since the 1950s.
And you can afford it. You’ll still be able to ride on your corporate jet; you’re just going to pay a little more.
…If we do not have revenues, that means there are a bunch of kids out there who are not getting college scholarships. If we do not have those revenues, then the kinds of cuts that would be required might compromise the National Weather Service. It means that we would not be funding critical medical research. It means that food inspection might be compromised.
And, you know, I’ve said to some of the Republican leaders, “You go talk to your constituents — the Republican constituents — and ask them, are they willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break.” And I’m pretty sure what the answer would be.
The debate has now been properly framed.
Are we going to cut the deficit by gutting what makes America work? Or are we going to cut the deficit by having the wealthiest Americans contribute what they can easily afford?
We need to make sure this call for shared sacrifice continues to reverberate through the halls of Congress, and weaken the negotiating leverage of conservatives trying to hold the economy hostage.
Go to OurFuture.org/SharedSacrifice to demand your House and Senate representatives draw a firm line in the sand: for every dollar cut on services for all, a dollar in higher taxes on the richest Americans.