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der Standard, Austria

Budget Negotiations:
Advantage Obama

By Christoph Prantner

Translated By Ron Argentati

14 December 2012

Edited by Natalie Clager

Austria - der Standard - Original Article (German)

There's not much time left. In two weeks, the United States could plunge over the so-called fiscal cliff — spoken of with well-tempered shudders of fear — unless the president and congress can agree on a budget deal. Speaker of the House John Boehner has already warned his colleagues of the possibility of spending the Christmas holidays on Capitol Hill. The positions of the president and Congress still remain worlds apart.

But this time around, the president holds much better cards than he has in the past. Surveys show that two-thirds of the American people support Obama's idea of raising taxes on the rich. Even 61 percent of Republicans support that idea, according to a study done by the Wall Street Journal, not exactly a big enemy of the wealthy.

Obama isn't just using this advantage, he's actively exploiting it. Instead of letting Congress lead him around by the nose as he did in the debt ceiling fight, an emboldened president now goes around the country since his election victory appearing on television and talking with voters instead of with politicians. Speaker Boehner should strive to distance himself from the bizarre anti-tax oath he and his captive colleagues swore to Grover Norquist and get back to a pragmatic position. If he does, Obama wins. If he doesn't, Obama wins big.



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