December 5, 2012

Obama: No deal without tax hike for top 2 percent

He rejects a Republican plan to raise revenue, insisting that the Bush-era tax cuts must expire for the wealthiest as part of a balanced approach to reducing the deficit.


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President Barack Obama, flanked by National Governors Association (NGA) Chairman, Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, left, and NGA Vice Chair, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, meets with the NGA executive committee regarding the fiscal cliff, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is at right. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

"I've said this for weeks now -- the president does not fear the fiscal cliff," said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. "That means he can push and push."The Washington Post

Most Americans appear poised to blame Republicans, not President Obama, if negotiators fail to act in time to avert a "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax increases and spending cuts slated for January, according to a new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll.

The new poll finds little confidence that leaders in Washington will reach a deal before the Dec. 31 deadline, and the level of pessimism remains largely unchanged since a similar poll three weeks ago. By nearly 2 to 1, more respondents said Republicans in Congress would be to blame if there is no deal, a lopsided assessment little changed from the earlier poll.

Also relatively unchanged is the wide concern over the potential economic fallout if there is no agreement. There remains a broad expectation that a lack of agreement will deliver a "major effect" on the economy.

What has changed since the previous poll is that more people are paying attention to the policy battle -- two-thirds are following the debate closely -- but that has not led to a better informed public. Only 28 percent say they understand "very well" the consequences of missing the deadline, about the same as the 26 percent in the prior survey.

Obama has called for raising tax rates for the wealthy, while congressional Republicans have urged that Bush-era tax cuts be extended for all taxpayers. Polls have shown that raising taxes for high-income households is popular, and that is perhaps the reason that Americans seem inclined to blame the GOP if there is no deal.


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