Voters agree with the president's plan to tax the rich, but if he fails to deliver, he'll risk losing the confidence of his base
When it comes to deficit politics, President Obama doesn't have a policy problem -- he has an image problem.
His new deficit plan should be popular with voters. On Monday, the president suggested taxing corporations and the rich to the tune of $1.5 trillion over 10 years, a revenue hike achieved by limiting deductions for America's top incomes and closing some corporate loopholes. He's fought this battle with Republicans twice before, and both times polling showed his ideas to be well received.
In December, 62 percent supported his plan to let the high-income Bush tax cuts expire, according to CNN. In July, as the U.S. debt limit was about to expire, CNN found that 73 percent supported raising taxes on incomes over $250,000.
Despite all that public backing, Obama probably won't get his way. Republicans control the House of Representatives, and House Speaker John Boehner and others have steadfastly refused to approve any tax increase of any kind, warning that such a move would damage job creation as the national unemployment rate hovers at 9.1 percent.
Obama isn't trying to make a deal with Republicans, New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait suggests. The president is trying to make his opinion known. In his speech on Monday, Obama did not seek the middle ground he and Republicans reached in December, when they compromised over the Bush tax cuts, although that compromise boosted his approval ratings. Instead, he offered an opening salvo that clarified his own stance and might force Republicans to offer concessions of their own, if the two sides are to meet in the middle.