Speaker of the House John Boehner was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss the “non-progress” being made in the fiscal talks between Congress and Barack Obama to avert the fiscal cliff. According to Boehner, not only is Obama looking for $1.6 trillion in new revenue over the next ten years, which is twice as much as he previously asked for in public, but when Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner proposed that additional spending be added, Boehner said he was “flabbergasted” and said, “You can’t be serious.”
Wallace asked Boehner how he would characterize the proposal offered by the Treasury Secretary.
Boehner replied, “A non-serious proposal. The president is asking for $1.6 trillion worth of new revenue over 10 years, twice as much as he has been asking for in public. He has stimulus spending in here that exceeded the amount of new cuts that he was willing to consider. It was not a serious offer.”
Wallace then looked to clarify asking, “You are saying that there is more spending than spending cuts?”
“That is correct,” Boehner said. “They outlined — they’d be willing to talk about $400 billion worth of cuts over 10 years. But, at the end of the year, they wanted to extend unemployment benefits, they wanted a new stimulus program for infrastructure, they wanted to extend some other tax breaks.”
“And all of this stimulus spending would literally be more than the spending cuts that he was willing to put on the table,” Boehner said.
“Now, understand, Chris,” the Speaker continued. “The day after the election, I saw the results, I to the cameras and made it clear: the Republicans were willing to put revenue on the table if there were serious spending cuts and reforms put in place. We’ve talked about it.”
Boehner asked rheorically, “The president and the White House have had three weeks and this is the best we’ve got?”
Wallace then questioned Boehner on his own proposal. The exchange went as follows:
WALLACE: OK. But, let’s talk about your proposal, because, the president — and I’m sure this has driven you nuts — likes to say, the math tends not to work.
Let’s look at your math. The White House says a realistic cap — and I’ll explain what that means — of $25,000 on people making more than $250,000, a cap on their deductions, you can only take $25,000 in itemized deductions and exempting things like charitable deduction, which is pretty unlikely that you’re going to do away with that, would only bring in $450 billion, not the $800 billion you are talking about, not the trillion — $450 billion.
They say the math tends not to work.
BOEHNER: No, the White House knows that the math will work — to put the kind of revenue on the table that we’ve been talking about. It won’t work if we’re trying to get the $1.6 trillion. I’ll guarantee you that.
But you can put — we’ve put the revenue on the table. And, again a dozen different ways to get there without raising tax rates.
WALLACE: And you can get up to what amount?
BOEHNER: Basically the number that we have been —
WALLACE: Eight hundred billion?
BOEHNER: Somewhere in that range.
The interview continued, but really it seems that there is no solution that either side is willing to accept and it seems that the White House is not even dealing with any realistic economics in the middle of all of this. It is looking more and more like we should simply prepare to go over the cliff without applying the breaks.
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