In his White House speech tonight, President Obama renewed his call for a debt-ceiling impasse solution which requires “the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to give up some of their breaks in the tax code and special deductions.” In other words, he wants tax increases, even though earlier in the day, he backed Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s “plan” (using the term loosely, as explained here and here) which, according to two separate reports (USAT; ABC), includes no tax increases.
In other words, the President, from all appearances, changed his mind — again. Calling the President’s performance in the debt-ceiling matter during the past several weeks “Jello-like” would appear to be an insult to the referenced food product.
Two items I’ve seen on President Obama’s speech tonight — David Jackson’s “live blog” item at USA Today and David Espo’s coverage at the Associated Press — did not recognize this seemingly clear point.
Jackson just ignored the Reid no-tax-increase plan’s existence, even though he had written about it just three hours earlier.
Meanwhile, Espo alleged that Obama’s support for the Reid plan earlier today somehow still stands:
… while the president didn’t say so, his embrace of legislation unveiled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid effectively jettisoned his longstanding call for increased government revenues as part of any deficit reduction plan.
Obama’s openness to a law with no increases must have been emanating in penumbras only Espo could detect.
Speaker of the House John Boehner clearly didn’t catch the totally weird nuance Espo invented, telling the nation in his speech following the President’s that:
The president has often said we need a ‘balanced’ approach — which in Washington means: we spend more … you pay more. Having run a small business, I know those tax increases will destroy jobs.
Here’s more from Espo’s report (bolds are mine):
In unprecedented back-to-back appearances on nationwide television, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner clashed Monday night over the cause and cure for the nation’s debt crisis. The two men spoke as Congress remained gridlocked on legislation to avert a threatened default after Aug. 2.
Decrying a “partisan three-ring circus” in the nation’s capital, Obama assailed a newly minted Republican plan to raise the nation’s debt limit as an invitation to another crisis in six months’ time. He said congressional leaders must produce a compromise that can reach his desk before the deadline.
“The American people may have voted for divided government, but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government,” the president said in a hastily arranged prime-time speech. He appealed to the public to contact lawmakers and demand “a balanced approach” to reducing federal deficits – including tax increases for the wealthy as well as spending cuts.
… Responding moments later from a room near the House chamber, Boehner said the “crisis atmosphere” was of the president’s making.
… The back-to-back speeches did little to suggest that a compromise was in the offing, and the next steps appeared to be votes in the House and Senate on the rival plans by mid-week.
Despite warnings to the contrary, U.S. financial markets have appeared to take the political maneuvering in stride – so far. Wall Street posted losses Monday but with no indication of panic among investors.
Yeah, the media/White House “the markets will tank if there isn’t an agreement this weekend” scare tactic of the past two days didn’t work out too well, did it?
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.