President Obama takes hard line against an anti-tax GOP

The Takeaway

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Faced with an uphill reelection battle and a disenfranchised base, President Obama indicated on Monday that he plans on taking aharder line against an anti-tax GOP.

In a speech introducing his debt reduction plan yesterday, Obama vowed to veto any plan Congress sends him that does not raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations while cutting Medicare benefits.  “I will not support any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans,” Obama said.

Obama’s plan, which will reduce annual deficits up to $4 trillion over 10 years, has been assailed as “class warfare” by Republicans.

The president addressed this assertion in his speech: “Either we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes, or we ask senior citizens to pay more for Medicare. We can’t afford to do both. Either we gut education and medical research, or we’ve got to reform the tax code so that most profitable corporations have to give up tax loopholes that other companies don’t get. This not class warfare. It’s math.”

Jonathan Chait, columnist at New York Magazine and author or “The Big Con: Crackpot Economics and the Fleecing of America,” believes Obama’s more hard line stance is starting with “the premise that Republicans aren’t going to pass anything.”

“I think what he’s trying to do is communicate a simple idea to the pubic, which I think the public doesn’t get, is that he has ideas to fix the economy and Congress will not pass those ideas,” Chait told The Takeaway.

“The Republican party has made a large strategic position that giving Obama bipartisan cover for major initiatives is only going to make him more popular, and increase his chances and hurt their chances,” Chait added.

View video of President Obama’s speech:

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“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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