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La Presse, Canada

Obama No Longer Negotiating with Himself


By Richard Hétu

Translated By Katherine Highet

3 December 2012

Edited by Gillian Palmer


Canada - La Presse - Original Article (French)

In his previous budget negotiations, Obama had the habit of presenting the Republicans with propositions that took into account their demands. They would either wholly reject them or accept them completely, all the while calling for supplementary concessions, to the great displeasure of the Democratic president's supporters.

Since his re-election on November 6, Obama has adopted a new approach to his discussions with the Republicans in order to avoid the “budgetary wall,” as explained in this article, which made the headlines of today's New York Times. This time, he presented propositions that took the Democrats’ demands into account and requested that the Republicans present their own plan to reduce budgetary expenses.

How are the Republicans reacting to such a new approach, one that marks the end of Obama's negotiations with himself? One word, spoken by John Boehner yesterday on Fox News, says it all: “flabbergasted.” In other words, the Republicans cannot get over the fact that they will now have to discuss the same budget cuts that they demand!

Let's not forget that the U.S. will hit a “budgetary wall” if they do not make an agreement before Jan. 1: The fiscal reductions from the Bush era and other tax exemptions will end for all American taxpayers just at the moment that drastic budget cuts will be introduced.

The propositions presented by Obama consist of an increase of $1.6 trillion in state revenues over 10 years, coming primarily from the abolition of fiscal reductions introduced by Bush for the richest 2 percent of Americans and from a reduction of $600 billion in social spending, which will come mainly from the administrators of the Medicare program, who have been given the authority to negotiate better prices for medicine.

While waiting for the Republicans to present their plan, the president started a very public campaign last week in order to convince Congress to renew the fiscal reductions granted by George W. Bush to the poorest 98 percent of taxpayers.



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