President Obama’s White House press conference yesterday only confirmed what we wrote that morning: the negotiation phase of the debt limit crisis is over. Obama’s post-negotiation strategy appears to be to let the markets freak out as we near, and probably pass, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s August 2nd deadline. Obama will then blame Republicans for choosing tax breaks for the wealthy over everyone else. Hence Obama’s line yesterday, “I’ve said to Republican leaders, ‘You go talk to your constituents and ask them, ‘Are you willing to compromise your kids’ safety so some corporate-jet owner can get a tax break?’”
Funny thing about those corporate jet tax breaks though: Obama’s own $814 billion stimulus included tax cuts on jet purchases designed to boost jet sales and save jet manufacturing jobs. By including this measure in his signature economic recovery package, Obama has already conceded that these tax cut saves jobs. So its not “kids’ safety” vs “corporate-jet owners.” Its “higher government spending” vs “fewer jobs.” Is that really the argument Obama wants to take to the American people?
And who is naive enough to actually believe that taxing corporate jets is the key to a balanced budget? The jet tax break Obama wants to end would only net the Treasury $3 billion in increased revenue … over ten years. That $3 billion isn’t even a rounding error compared to the more than $40 trillion the U.S. government is set to spend over the next decade. Is Obama really willing to worsen an already anemic recovery over $3 billion in corporate jets?
Around the Bigs
The Washington Examiner, Obama to GOP on debt deal: ‘Get this done’: A “feisty” President Obama blamed congressional Republicans for failing to “do their job” by raising both taxes and the debt limit Wednesday. Not mentioning that it is the Senate Democrats who haven’t passed a budget in more than two years, Obama attacked House Republicans, “They’re in one week; they’re out one week. … You stay here. Let’s get this done.”
The Washington Examiner, 6th Circuit concedes Obamacare mandate is new exercise of federal power: In a 2-to-1 opinion, the 6th circuit sided with the Obama administration against the Thomas More Law Center in their suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. The loss was widely expected in conservative legal circles as most of the movement’s resources have been devoted to the 26-state case in the 11th circuit, and the Virginia case in the 4th circuit. The decision was not all bad for opponents of the law, however, as the 6th circuit joined every other court in ruling that the mandate is not a tax. The court also conceded that Obamacare’s individual mandate is an unprecedented use of federal power.
CNN, Republicans reject president’s call to include tax revenues in debt deal: Congressional Republicans wasted little time after the press conference responding to Obama’s demand for tax hikes. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said, “The president is sorely mistaken if he believes a bill to raise the debt ceiling and raise taxes would pass the House.” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, added “tax hikes on our job-creators in the name of debt reduction is bad policy, especially since our debt crisis is fueled by unsustainable spending.”
The Washington Examiner, GOP seeks balanced-budget amendment: Senate Republicans responded to Obama’s press conference by announcing plans to on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution next month. “We think it’s pretty clear regardless of what we are ultimately able to negotiate here in the short term that we put the federal government in this kind of fiscal straitjacket for the future so that we cannot get into this position again,” McConnell said.
CBS News, Poll: Many say economy is in permanent decline: According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll, 39 percent of Americans now believe the U.S. economy is in permanent decline. Only 56 percent believe it “will eventually recover.” And only 20 percent of Americans believe the economy is currently getting better, the lowest number since last August. Thirty-one percent say it is getting worse while roughly half say it is staying the same.
Associated Press, Fuzzy math in health law formula: Another week, another Obamacare policy screw up revealed. Like last week’s dual eligible revelation, this one again involves seniors near retirement age. Thanks to the way the subsidies are structured, seniors who choose to work past 62 will pay for more for their health care then seniors who elect early retirement Social Security payments. Obama officials tell the AP they “monitoring this issue and exploring options.”
McClatchy, Libya mission becomes a burden for Obama: More than 100 days after Obama launched his war in Libya, former and current Pentagon officials are increasing their criticism of the campaign. One senior military officer told McClatchy: “We are losing the goodwill this was supposed to create.” Meanwhile, out going Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested to PBS that Obama’s entry into the war had nothing to do with protecting civilians, and everything to do with Libyan oil for NATO allies who helped us in Afghanistan: “These allies, particularly the British and the French, and the Italians for that matter, have really been a big help to us in Afghanistan. They consider Libya a vital interest for them. Our alliance with them is a vital interest for us. So as they have helped us in Afghanistan, it seems to me that we are in a position of helping them with respect to Libya.”
The Los Angeles Times, California delays its carbon trading program for a year: In yet another huge loss for the environmental movement, California’s Air Resources Board announced yesterday it would be delaying enforcement of its cap and trade program until 2013. Apparently not all of the “necessary elements” are in place for the scheme to be “fully functional.”
USA Today, Minn. government shutdown could be mere hours away: Unless Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and the Republican legislature make a deal by midnight tonight, Minnesota’s state government could be shut down tomorrow. The hang up: Dayton wants to raise taxes, Republicans want to cut spending.
GOP field: According to a new CBS News/New York Times poll, Republicans are still very unhappy with their current presidential choices. Only 23 percent of Republican voters said they were satisfied with the candidates running, while 71 percent said they’d like to see a new face.
Campaign finance: Today is the FEC reporting deadline for federal campaigns. The official totals will not be released by the FEC for weeks, but most campaigns will leak their totals today. Former-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to blow the rest of the GOP field away but Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is also facing raised expectations. Former-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has the most to lose and the littlest to gain. A strong number barely keeps him in the conversation as a top-tier candidate. A weak number solidifies his status as a fringe candidate.
Bachmann: The Washington Examiner‘s Tim Carney defends Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., against charges she is a hypocrite for opposing Medicaid expansion even though her husband accepts Medicaid patients: “Medicaid leads many poor people to go without private insurance, and it also displaces some private charities that would otherwise help the poor get health care. This leaves Marcus Bachmann with three options: turn away Medicaid patients (as many health care facilities do), eat the cost of treating these patients, or take Medicaid payments.”
Doug Powers highlights a CNSNews report on a Tuesday Senate hearing on the DREAM Act where Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill. told a room full of illegal immigrants, “When I look around this room, I see America’s future … maybe our president.” Powers notes that Durbin is going to pass more than the DREAM Act to make any immigrant eligible to be president.
RedState‘s Erick Erickson asks readers to donate to the following senate campaigns on this final day of the fundraising quarter: Ted Cruz of Texas, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Adam Hasner of Florida, Josh Mandel of Ohio, and Don Stenberg of Nebraska.
The Weekly Standard‘s Daniel Halper flags a contactmusic story on an upcoming Beatles documentary that claims John Lennon was closet Republican: “it’s entirely believable that one could “really sour on (Democrat) Jimmy Carter” and that one could be “embarrassed” by his radical past.”
The Washington Post‘s Greg Sargent on Obama’s gameplan: “The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious: He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich. … Obama is picking this fight in order to reframe the deficit and debt ceiling debate as a battle not over government spending — losing turf for Dems — but over who has the most balanced priorities and who is really working in the interests of the whole country.”
The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein explains how he know the debt limit negotiations have truly failed: “The best advice I’ve gotten for assessing the debt-ceiling negotiations was to “watch for the day when the White House goes public.” As long as the Obama administration was refusing to attack Republicans publicly, my source said, they believed they could cut a deal. … But today they went public. The negotiations have failed.”
Daily Kos‘ Jed Lewison lays out the lefty logic behind Obama’s class warfare: “In the end, it’s just a question of math. If you don’t ask the wealthy to pay their share, the money is going to come from children and the elderly. And that’s not morally defensible.”