After President Obama was re-elected on Nov. 6, Americans faced a reality on Nov. 7: Taxes are going up. The only question facing conservatives now is how much of that tax hike they can prevent while also preserving as much of the hard-fought spending cuts they won in 2011.
Here are the facts: If nothing happens by Jan. 1, taxes will automatically rise by about $4.6 trillion over 10 years. Every working American would be hit. However, thanks to the August 2011 debt-limit deal, spending is also set to be cut by $1.2 trillion. Conservatives often forget about this little piece of leverage.
Obama’s top priority is to raise taxes as high as he possibly can. A $1.3 trillion tax hike was his latest offer. But undoing the $1.2 trillion spending cut in the debt-limit deal is also important to him. His latest offer not only rescinds the scheduled spending cut, but it also calls for $80 billion in new stimulus spending. Obama did also offer to cut Social Security by $120 billion over 10 years and make $800 billion more in other unspecified spending cuts, but he has flat out refused to entertain any serious entitlement reform proposals.
Boehner’s last offer to Obama wasn’t much better. It only raised taxes by $1 trillion and undid the $1.2 trillion spending cut from the debt-limit deal. Boehner did call for a new $1 trillion spending cut to replace the sequester, but no meaningful structural entitlement reforms were included.