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Obama warns GOP another debt ceiling 'game' will hurt economy

By Jim Kuhnhenn

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:12 a.m. HST, Dec 05, 2012

WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama warned Republicans today against picking another fight over the nation's debt ceiling, telling business leaders that it's "not a game that I will play."

Obama said in remarks to the Business Roundtable that he was aware of reports that Republicans may be willing to agree to higher tax rates on the wealthy as a way to avert the looming "fiscal cliff" and then come back next year with more leverage to extract spending cuts from the White House in exchange for raising the government's borrowing limit.

"That is a bad strategy for America, it's a bad strategy for your businesses and it's not a game that I will play," Obama said, recalling the "catastrophe that happened in August of 2011."

The president cited the prolonged and deeply partisan standoff over raising the U.S. debt limit last year that led the nation to the brink of default for the first time in its history. The move prompted Standard & Poor's to take the drastic step of stripping the government of its "AAA" rating on its bonds, a sign of the toll of the political debacle.

Obama's cautionary tone to congressional Republicans came amid a continuing standoff over the looming fiscal cliff, a series of automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled for the end of the year that could undermine the nation's economic recovery. Negotiations have focused on whether tax rates for the wealthy should increase, how deeply to cut spending on entitlements such as Medicare and how to deal with raising the government's borrowing limit early next year.

If Congress and the White House don't reach a budget deal, about $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases will automatically kick in starting Jan. 2, a scenario that's been dubbed the "fiscal cliff," because it is likely to send the economy back into recession and drive up unemployment.

Meantime, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican leaders said today — prior to Obama's remarks — that the White House had failed to offer a "balanced approach" that had a chance of clearing either chamber of Congress. "We can't negotiate with ourselves," Boehner said.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said Republicans want to "sit down with the president. We want to talk specifics. We put an offer on the table. Now he has out of hand rejected that. Where are the specifics? Where are the discussions? Nothing is going on. Meanwhile, the people of this country are the ones that suffer."

House Republicans have proposed a 10-year, $2.2 trillion blueprint that calls for increasing the eligibility age for Medicare and lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits. It came in response to Obama's offer last week to boost taxes by $1.6 trillion over the coming decade but largely exempt Medicare and Social Security from budget cuts.

The White House has ridiculed Boehner's approach as nothing more than "magic beans and fairy dust," saying taxes must rise on families earning $250,000 or more to generate enough revenue to deal with the nation's fiscal crisis. Congressional Republicans say Obama has focused only on tax increases but not offered enough specifics on reducing spending.

Obama told business leaders that his economic showdown with House Republicans could be solved quickly if the GOP would accept that raising tax rates on the wealthiest Americans is the only viable way to raise the money needed for a fair debt reduction plan.

"The numbers actually aren't that far apart," Obama said. "Another way of putting this is: We can probably solve this in about a week. It's not that tough. But we need that conceptual breakthrough."

Republicans dispute Obama's assertion and have proposed capping deductions and changing the tax code in other ways to generate the tax money.

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ya_think wrote:
Comments sent for approval if you say anything negative about Obuma
on December 5,2012 | 07:20AM
Anonymous wrote:
o b a m a is hurting the economy. his people are not paying taxes and addicted to their freebies...
on December 5,2012 | 07:34AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Dude, the only people still listening to the GOP and your kind of arguments are only those remaining in the ILIC (Ignorance and Low Intelligence Club) with you. If you're going to use the race card, you gotta actually refer to the race specifically. Otherwise, your remaining Club mates won't understand.
on December 5,2012 | 08:02AM
serious wrote:
O B A M A has so split this country by class, party, color. I listen to his speeches--it is all class warfare. The rich made it there by working. Romney lost by saying he was going to get people back to work!! Obama won by telling the middle class--those are the ones that don't pay taxes--that he would lower their taxes and keep them on the government programs!! He neve ran on his record.
on December 5,2012 | 08:45AM
iansuen wrote:
No. Romney lost because he simply couldn't connect with minority voters and for multiple reasons (such as foreign policy). Also, did you know that Reagan once expressed concern over low taxes for the very wealthy?
on December 5,2012 | 09:06AM
CriticalReader wrote:
Once again, serious, you as a neocon disingenuously point a finger in the wrong direction. The GOP is the party that has split this country racially. Look above at "Anonymous'" post. That's the kind of garbage that came from conservatives constantly since this Administration was elected in 2008. Race baiting and fear mongering are key unofficial planks in the GOP platform. But, in this country, the general idea is that majority rules (yeah, I understand the electoral college, so don't bother going there). The majority, serious, sides with the President on issues of race, and a good part of that support likely comes from disgust and dislike over the kind of things you and the likes of people like "Anonymous" say. Want the GOP to become a distant memory in American politics? Keep on talking like you talk.
on December 5,2012 | 09:20AM
serious wrote:
I know and believe what anonymous says is true. We are stuck in this Democratic state--look at what the D's have done here--lowest work enviornment, lowest education system, highest housing, cost of living, worst traffic congestions--should I go on? And their "native son" is doing the same for the whole USA!!!
on December 5,2012 | 12:01PM
CriticalReader wrote:
And how exactly would you fix all those problems you mentioned? Be specific as to each one, please.
on December 5,2012 | 12:04PM
iansuen wrote:
Your post signals a complete disregard for the "why" behind the problems you mentioned. You KNOW that real-life issues are more complex than simply blaming one party or group of people. You KNOW that simply voting for only republicans or only democrats or only X does not guarantee a problem fix. You KNOW that. So stop being shallow and start thinking critically.
on December 5,2012 | 01:37PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Reader, you may read race in the post by "Anonymous", but his meaning may have simply been referring to those who voted for him, which in fact are comprised largely of those on "freebies". That's actually how I saw it at first glance. When he gets home from work maybe he can clarify....
on December 5,2012 | 12:50PM
serious wrote:
CritidalReader--sure I have a solution. I was a very succesful businessman for years, got my college degree by going to school at night for 12 years--okay, cost of living--get HI off the Jones Act. Sunset the rules that force regulations and taxes on new businesses--give the incentives---look at all the kids whose future is in the service/tourist industry, education system is a mess--ever have a kid here transfer to the mainland and immediately get sent back a grade--I have. Schools should not start kids until they are 6 years old--cuts down on obesity and graduation rates--(Gates Foundation), get teachers who have more than the basic Liberal Arts degree, traffic--not easy but make the H-1's and H-3' toll roads unless you have another passenger. I hope that answers some of the concerns, but it will never happen. I see the Occupy Hawaii people in front of the Walgres cleverly disguised as union carpenters --- standing there for what--3 years??? They wear Obama T-shirts and what's his name governor--neither having worked in private industry in their lives!!!
on December 5,2012 | 01:32PM
CriticalReader wrote:
Sorry, hawaiikone. You can't help anyone making that comment spin their way out of it.
on December 5,2012 | 09:00PM
hawaiikone wrote:
Giving the benefit of the doubt as a rule can be a rewarding way to communicate. Society has enough mutual suspicion already.
on December 5,2012 | 09:28PM
ya_think wrote:
The King has spoken!!!!
on December 5,2012 | 07:21AM
kainalu wrote:
And as each weekly pew poll comes out on the issue, more and more Americans - those 97% less-fortunate of us - are blaming the Republicans for this pending fiscal cliff.
on December 5,2012 | 07:29AM
kainalu wrote:
... and now a new release by SA pointing this out - majority of Americans (that is growing with each passing week) supports the President's plan specifically related to the tax code.
on December 5,2012 | 01:17PM
AhiPoke wrote:
I'm an independent and from my position I think the republicans are stupid. IMO, they should give obama everything he wants under the condition that he finally takes personal responsibility for the outcome. Assuming that no fiscal deal is reached by congress, the president has set a trap to blame the republicans. I believe obama has been the most skilled politician and the worse president of my lifetime. Unfortunately, his skills will eventually lead the country into the worse economic condition ever. It will take years before we recover from this mess.
on December 5,2012 | 07:50AM
iansuen wrote:
If Obama doesn't get his way, how will I get "free stuff" from the government?
on December 5,2012 | 08:18AM
CriticalReader wrote:
House GOP members have to remove Boehner as Speaker. He's damaged goods already.
on December 5,2012 | 09:30AM
serious wrote:
You mean you want Pelosi back in? Put her picture on the "arts" for the rail and nobody will ride!!!
on December 5,2012 | 12:04PM
CriticalReader wrote:
I doubt a GOP majority would ask Pelosi to be Speaker. But, you never know the way they're going. The loss of influence risked with Boehner at the helm could equal a precipitous drop. Plus, in the broader picture, Boehner's penchant for causing gridlock in general on behalf of less and less popular positions is really becoming counterproductive. I think the more moderate elements of the GOP are getting sick and somewhat scared of it. I'd think some ambitious GOP House Members might be knocking on back doors and calling private cell phone lines. Actually, would be a somewhat smart move for a GOPer believing they could become attractive to the middle 20% or even 10% of the national electorate.
on December 5,2012 | 08:52PM
Loki wrote:
Obama is the only one playing games. Stop spending so much!
on December 5,2012 | 09:35AM
control wrote:
I guess the Republicans didn't get the memo about won the elections. Someone needs to tell Boehner that he is not the POTUS. He really needs to stop to pathetic posturing. The people have spoken and it wasn't conservatives or tea partiers.
on December 5,2012 | 10:32AM
hawaiikone wrote:
Apparently you don't realize there's a lot of us, 47% of this country, that spoke as well. Love that "posturing" stuff too. You do realize Obama's comments are exactly that, don't you?
on December 5,2012 | 12:43PM
IAmSane wrote:
I believe that the way to fix this economy is to give lower taxes for the rich and raise taxes for the middle class. Guaranteed this will work. WAKE UP SHEEEEEPLE!!!!11
on December 5,2012 | 12:16PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Tea Party Republicans need to switch to beer and join the rest of the world.
on December 5,2012 | 12:21PM
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