Obama Tackles ‘Fiscal Cliff’ with Campaign Strategy
President Obama warned of a "Scrooge" Christmas If Congress does not pass legislation extending tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans in Pennsylvania, Friday
The visit and speech was part of Obama's campaign-like push to curry public support for his plan to avert the so-called fiscal cliff and the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that would come with it.
"Let's get that done," Obama said of approving tax cuts for most Americans, while letting rates for the top 2 percent go up. "Let's go ahead and take the fear out for the vast majority of American families so they don't have to worry about $2,000 coming out of their pockets next year."
Less than a month after Election Day, President Obama continues to use his campaigning tactics to tackle the upcoming "fiscal cliff."
The Administration announced last week that the President will hit the road to garner public support for his deficit-reduction strategy, which includes raising taxes on high-income Americans, minimizing the impact of budget cuts on middle class families, and protecting entitlement programs that support the poor and vulnerable.
The President emphasized the importance of public opinion and grassroots organizing earlier in the year in an interview with Univision, in which he said, "you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside."
Following his principles, President Obama met with liberal groups, labor unions, and business leaders the week after he was re-elected to discuss the implications of the fiscal cliff. These heavy-hitters included Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden, leaders from the nation's four largest unions (the Service Employees International Union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the NEA and the AFL-CIO), and the CEO's of Xerox, Proctor and Gamble, and IBM, among others.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the President's campaign-like strategy, saying, "It was with some concern that I read this morning that the president plans to hit the road this week to drum up support for his own personal approach to the short- and long-term fiscal challenges we face."
The Obama Administration's Press Secretary, Jay Carney, disagreed with McConnell's sentiment: “I don’t think there is a lot of faith that a bunch of people sitting around a table in a room are going to solve problems on behalf of the American people . . . if those sitting around the table aren’t also communicating and engaging with the American people.”
Last week, the President met with small business owners and middle class taxpayers at risk of losing $2,000 if their current tax rates are raised, and spoke at a manufacturing plant in Hatfield, Pennsylvania on Friday.
In a speech at the Pennsylvania factory, the President said of the fiscal showdown situation, "[i]t’s not acceptable to me, and I don’t think it’s acceptable to you, for just a handful of Republicans in Congress to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they don’t want tax rates on upper-income folks to go up." President Obama continued on a hopeful note, saying that he believes both parties "can and will work together" to reach an agreement.
Sydney Hofferth is a Communications Intern for Campus Progress. You can follow her on twitter at @squidhoff10.
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