James Pethokoukis

Politics and policy from inside Washington

No big budget deal? Blame Obama, not Boehner

July 10, 2011

President Barack Obama could have done two things that might have saved his Mother of All Budget Deals.

First, he could have embraced market-centered, consumer -focused reforms to Medicare. That was about as likely as him accepting an Obamacare rollback.  Second, he could have agreed — as House Speaker John Boehner and Republicans suggested —  to sharply reduce tax rates in return for fewer special tax deductions/breaks/loopholes/subsidies. Recall that is what his own debt commission recommended.

Instead, he apparently offered to keep top individual rates where they are, at 35 percent, in exchange for tax reform. Now that’s a big tax hike. But it’s also revealing. As a GOP source on the Hill put it:

Their fierce insistence on higher taxes is beyond bizarre.  …  The bipartisan consensus on tax reform (broader base & lower rates) was championed by President’s fiscal commission, and yet now is being rebuked by the President. Lowering top rates that would help make America more competitive was too large a leap for a true class warrior.

Obama agrees with the left-of-center consensus that America is dramatically undertaxed. Those tax rates from his fiscal commission would have resulted in revenue higher than the historical 18-19 percent of GDP, as seen in this chart:

But 21 percent of GDP — the highest in U.S. history — isn’t nearly enough for the Obamacrats. Even if Obamacare is successful in bringing down health costs, top liberal policy wonks think far more revenue will be needed to deal with an aging America. First, this budget from the Economic Policy Institute. It sees revenue at 24.1 percent of GDP, which still leaves a huge budget gap:

Then there is this plan from the George Soros-backed Center for American Progress, which operates as the White House’s outside think tank. It sees revenue at 23.8 percent of GDP, even adding a carbon tax and transaction tax into the mix.

 

In short, Obama sees a need for a permanently bigger government and a lot more tax revenue to fund it.  Had Obama agreed with his own debt commission and Republicans, a big agreement was possible. Or he could have proposed real reforms to entitlements. But he declined and there wasn’t a mega-deal. Don’t blame Boehner for that.

Comments

can you please not try to sound so desperately biased? sheesh!

Posted by Protricity | Report as abusive
 

I’ve never read a column by Pethokoukis before but it’s obvious he has no interest in speaking to anyone that doesn’t already agree with him. He thinks that calling people Obamacrats and associating an idea with anything linked to George Soros is sufficiently persuasive. What a sad waste of space.

Posted by nickindc | Report as abusive
 

Obama is just one man in these negotiations. You can’t put the blame solely on him. This is typical of the right wing and right wing media; Republicans don’t actually stand for anything, and funny thing is, no one asks them to.

Unemployment was 4.2% when Bush took office. When he left it was 7.8% and rising fast. Unemployment has a huge impact on the deficit. A lot of people know the national debt grew $4.9 trillion while Bush was in office, but most don’t realize almost of third of that, $1.44 trillion, was accrued in the last 12 months he was in office.

Bush could have cut spending and reduced the size of government. He could have balanced the budget. He could have spared us an expensive war in Iraq. He should have imposed a tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan. Had he done those things there would have been no need to raise the debt ceiling in 2006. But given the state of the economy Obama inherited high deficits were inevitable for several years. There was no way the budget could be balanced under those circumstances.

Unemployment when Bush took office: 4.2%.
Unemployment when Bush left office: 7.8% and rising.

I am certainly not going to blame Obama for these problems.

President Bush and his supporters argued that high-income tax cuts would benefit everybody because they would unleash investment that would spark widespread economic prosperity.

There is no evidence of this. From 2000 to 2007, the United States lost one in five (3.5 million) middle-class jobs. A majority of the new jobs created in the United States under Bush pay extremely low wages at less than $18,000 a year, usually without benefits. This is with corporate profits at an all time high since 1960.

The 2005 CBO data show that changes in law enacted since January 2001 increased the deficit by $539 billion in 2005. In the absence of such legislation, the nation would have a surplus that year. In 2010, when all the Bush tax cuts were finally phased in, a staggering 52.5 percent of the benefits went to the richest 5 percent of taxpayers.

Republicans don’t negotiate, they are already “right”. After watching the Republicans have so called debates I’m left wondering what all these people will do fix our nation that, according to Republicans, has been destroyed by Democrats.

After watching Republicans hate on all the people who voted for Democrats I realized this: That in order for Republicans to even get elected, they need to exploit the emotions of people using anti-gay rhetoric along with some fear mongering like “death panels” mixed with a little contentious associations such as the anti ACORN and Planned Parenthood right-wing propaganda. Throw all that in with the “Obama is a Kenyan Muslim” stuff and you get a whole lot of ignorant people throwing away their votes on the worst possible candidate.

Michel Bachman for example actively fights the teaching of evolution in science classes. After all that science has created for humanity, Republicans will still deny any science that contradicts their, cursory but required to be elected, political beliefs. Take away these tools of fear from the Republican Party and you are left with nothing. Crickets.

Would you hire a confessed animal hater to run a pet store? No? Then why would you
elect politicians who freely admit to despising government?

Republicans rally against regulation of industry, and then America sees how that turns out when BP spills a million barrels of oil in our seas. Republicans will rally against gay people, stripping them of civil rights, and then you find them tapping their toes in airport bathrooms looking for their gay lovers. Republicans will rally against non-existent communists but have no problem driving our economy to the ground with Karl Marx like spending of trillions of tax dollars that they borrowed from China for endless wars against enemies that did not attack us.

A vote for a Republican is literally a vote for the
absence of leadership.

Hands down, I’m voting for the Democrats for the next decade. Keep on truckin Democrats.

Posted by ApostasyUSA | Report as abusive
 

@ApostasyUSA — Think you can spin the numbers just a little more?

“A lot of people know the national debt grew $4.9 trillion while Bush was in office, but most don’t realize almost of third of that, $1.44 trillion, was accrued in the last 12 months he was in office.”

Guess who controlled the House and the Senate in the last 2 years of Bush’s presidency? Democrats.

“From 2000 to 2007, the United States lost one in five (3.5 million) middle-class jobs.”

How many of those jobs were from the dotcom era that was built up under Clinton but busted during Bush’s presidency?

In addition, Bush had to deal with 9/11 and its aftermath, which really hurt jobs.

“Bush could have cut spending and reduced the size of government. He could have balanced the budget. He could have spared us an expensive war in Iraq. He should have imposed a tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan. Had he done those things there would have been no need to raise the debt ceiling in 2006. ”

I guess you were the 13% of people who were against the war in Iraq?

And yes, Bush could have absolutely done better in those final years even with Democratic control. That said, why are you using it as an excuse to allow Obama to make things worse?

“Hands down, I’m voting for the Democrats for the next decade. Keep on truckin Democrats.”

Sounds more like “Hand over your eyes and ears” to me.

Posted by henslecd | Report as abusive
 

@ApostasyUSA — Think you can spin the numbers just a little more?

“A lot of people know the national debt grew $4.9 trillion while Bush was in office, but most don’t realize almost of third of that, $1.44 trillion, was accrued in the last 12 months he was in office.”

Guess who controlled the House and the Senate in the last 2 years of Bush’s presidency? Democrats.

“From 2000 to 2007, the United States lost one in five (3.5 million) middle-class jobs.”

How many of those jobs were from the dotcom era that was built up under Clinton but busted during Bush’s presidency?

In addition, Bush had to deal with 9/11 and its aftermath, which really hurt jobs.

“Bush could have cut spending and reduced the size of government. He could have balanced the budget. He could have spared us an expensive war in Iraq. He should have imposed a tax to pay for the war in Afghanistan. Had he done those things there would have been no need to raise the debt ceiling in 2006. ”

I guess you were the 13% of people who were against the war in Iraq?

And yes, Bush could have absolutely done better in those final years even with Democratic control. That said, why are you using it as an excuse to allow Obama to make things worse?

“Hands down, I’m voting for the Democrats for the next decade. Keep on truckin Democrats.”

Sounds more like “Hand over your eyes and ears” to me.

Posted by henslecd | Report as abusive
 

Obama wants to wants to stay in Iraq.

Obama spends money wildly and doesn’t respect the American people.

Unemployment rates are now at 9.2%. They are Obama’s fault now.

Obama just wants to spend money for people who don’t want to work and to give healthcare to anyone who doesn’t pay.

This budget deal gave Obama the chance to bring in the budget deficit and act like working Americans, rich, poor and legal do. Not like a money grabbing irresponsible child that is power hungry and un-American.

It is not a crime to work hard and earn alot of money. It is a crime to spend other peoples money never knowing how it was earned and respecting other peoples right to use their money wisely.

Posted by pre | Report as abusive
 

Why shouldn’t the top few percent, who recieved the vast majority of tax cuts for the last 30+ years, and nearly all of the revenue from increased production during the same time frame, pay closer to the amount they payed before? Especially now that the top 1% have holdings equal those of the bottom 90%?

I believe that, given our problem of very low demand causing slow hireing, if the lowest 85% are forced by elected republicans to fund further tax cuts for the rich, by cuts in social security, unemployment insurance, and medical care the resulting drop in our already inadequate demand will push us into depression.

Posted by reggiewhitefish | Report as abusive
 

Totmom, Obamacrats, Obamacare “mother of all” and so on. the News of the World must have been your favorite, I guess you will have to make do with the Faux News.

Using such derogatory terms is a disgrace to the calling of journalism. Try some respect if you want any.

Posted by Tomslad | Report as abusive
 

US federal revenues have NEVER exceeded 20.9 percent of GDP — that was the peak, in 1944 — and they RARELY exceed 19 percent of GDP, regardless of how high or low tax rates are.

To PLAN to raise them to 23.8 percent is N – U – T – S.

Dean Clancy
FreedomWorks

Posted by DeanClancy | Report as abusive
 

“Market-centered, consumer-focused reforms to Medicare.” Your lies are very well-dressed.

Posted by WRETCHED_HYENA | Report as abusive
 

Fox News very fair and balanced, why are Liberals afraid of the truth? Bet you all wish Jimmy Carter was back. He did enough to hurt America, and downed talked America whenever he could.

Posted by Bbcfunguy | Report as abusive
 

I am inclined to agree with the reasoned arguments, but the denigrating tone (which conservatives just can’t resist) always makes me suspicious that something is being swept under the rug. What happened to the civilized discourse? I’m not fan of the healthcare reform law enacted under Obama, but constantly using the demeaning “Obamacare”? Who’s the “warrior” here? Time to grow up and respect your opponent.

Posted by Independent00 | Report as abusive
 

I can only say how amazed I continually see exasperated comments screaming “bias” on these and similar pages. If I thought it would help, I’d be tempted to help explain that Op-Ed means “Opposite the Editorial Page;” in short, an opinion piece.
Guess when on the same day the difference between opinion and fact is taught in elementary school a flu epidemic must coincidentally break out.

Posted by Boozup | Report as abusive
 

I love that you point out that 21% of GDP is the highest revenue draw in history – while we are facing a $14 trillion deficit and an expanding Social Security/Medicare crisis.

So .. our historical tax collection rates have proven to be woefully insufficient, and you’re advocating for keeping them there?

There’s a definition of insanity that fits this kind of thinking …

Posted by kthejoker | Report as abusive
 

I am sick of people claiming terms like “Obamacare” are demeaning. It is a health CARE plan, and the plan was OBAMA’s. Since when is it demeaning to give him credit for HIS OWN PLAN? It’s only demeaning if you think there is some sort of problem with the plan and you don’t want him associated with it. Is that what’s going on here?

Let’s remember, people, lower tax rates DOES NOT MEAN PEOPLE PAY LESS IN TAXES. That is the whole point of what President Obama’s OWN DEBT COMMISSION recommended. I know it’s complicated, but stay with me here:

Currently we have a higher tax rate on companies than Republicans are asking for, but there are lots of loopholes so many companies pay little or no taxes. What Republicans want are lower tax rates but elimination of the loopholes, which will ACTUALLY INCREASE TAX REVENUE. Why is this so difficult for you to understand?

Posted by EagleEyeDG | Report as abusive
 

Obviously biased article. Also well researched.

I would very much like to know why Obama has basically ignored his own economics commission’s recommendations. I strongly suspect Obama ignored them because he disagrees with the political ramifications. A pity.

Posted by Tath | Report as abusive
 

Your flying at 37,000 feet or smoking something! You are asking the seniors, vets, lower than middle class, teachers, policemen and all the slaves to shoulder the 100% cost of running the government! Wall Street, Big Oil, Banks, and reuters pay zip not one 1 penny for the path of destruction of war and theft of our nation treasury (our kids). Thank God that the second amendments rights are available to others than the bribers of Supreme Court Justice, congressmen and senators.

Posted by Jh101 | Report as abusive
 

Obama has totally failed to lead again! What a surprise? Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling in 2006 calling the much smaller deficit and debt then a failure of leadership. Well? 2 1/2 years of Obama and all he’s given our nation is 9.2% UNEMPLOYMENT, Record Long Term UNEMPLOYMENT, and Nation destroying debt. Yet, his answer, after months and month, is more taxes on business and more spending. If Obama doesn’t agree to a massive cut in his wasted corrupt spending and debt, without slamming business with more taxes, Republicans need to follow his example and vote NO on raising the debt ceiling. Better a crisis now than after Obama has wasted another $5 trillion dollars and driven UNEMPLOYMENT to 15%. We have to get rid of Obama in 2012, he is a total disaster!!!

Posted by valwayne | Report as abusive
 

Boozup…..Boozup??? You actually picked that as a screen name? And then you want to complain about all the “exasperated comments” on page like this, yet you close with one of those “Gee, you must have missed the obvious things in class one day”??
Have you considered that maybe, just maybe, the reason for some of the “exasperated comments”, is that people on both sides of the aisle ARE exasperated with the constant blame games, and ZERO solutions games? Look even on this short page, and tell me how much of it is the right telling the left it’s ALL Obama’s/Liberals fault, the left saying it’s ALL Bush’s fault, and no one offering a solution. (BTW, ANY solution that takes MORE of my money to give to people who don’t work……Not a winner in my opinion. And as a Conservative minded person, I DO have problems with many of the things that President Bush did, and said so at the time.) We’re in trouble, BIG trouble, and even the simple notion of not INCREASING the spending seems to be something that the President will not entertain. I’m sorry, but the very first thing I learned about any kind of financial management was that when you exceed the amount of money you earn or have on hand to spend….STOP SPENDING. Obama seems to reject that particular piece of logic. Heck, he’s not even content to allow for ‘just’ normal inflation driven increases in spending. Nope He wants to increase spending, again, massively. In large part for things that didn’t accomplish anything in the first, or second, go round. Hard to accept that as a reasoned and viable plan of action to salvage the economy. When the Democrats in Congress and the President won’t move away from that stand, there isn’t much to be done, is there?

Posted by USNJIMRET | Report as abusive
 

KateCooper with just a little research you can find that the US corporate tax rate is second in the world behind Japan.

Posted by Shoegazer | Report as abusive
 

“IT’S THE ECONOMY STUPID”, or so says the Liberal Democrat and “Raging Cajun” James Carville. The TAX AND SPEND DEMOCRATS have nothing to say but to continue to blame Bush. Hey, its well past two and half years from the Bush presidency and obama can no longer blame his predecessor with any credibility except among the hardcore Leftists TAX AND SPEND DEMOCRATS who will still be blaming Bush 20 years from now. Obama has virtually nothing to which he an point that shows his actions will result in an improved economy. The class warfare, the stimulus, the health care law, his empty promises to reform regulations, etc are all the wrong answers. AND AMERICANS KNOW IT!!!

Posted by Mike46 | Report as abusive
 

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC Chairman, said the Democrats own the economy. Therefore the numbers are all theirs.

Posted by aisaaisa | Report as abusive
 

It always amazes me when Obama’s sycophants still try to pin this all on Bush. When asked what specific Bush policies resulted in the financial collapse of 2008, what gets mentioned most often are the unfunded 2 wars and Medicare Part D. Well, now we find ourselves in 3 or at least 2-1/2 wars and Obamacare’s negative potential effect on the economy totally dwarfs whatever the prescription drug plan ever did. So if we can blame Bush for unemployment rising in his eight years in office, how does Obama get a free ride for the rise in unemployment in his brief tenure, with no end in sight. Of course, his failed attempts at centrally planning and controlling the economy can’t be blamed for the present mess.Of course not. After all, all Obama is doing is trying to achieve social justice and spread the wealth around. He has to be the most economically ignorant president this country has ever had. Considering he’s been either an academic or a politician his whole life, with little to no real world experience, it’s not surprising.

Posted by alfatc33 | Report as abusive
 

A quote from Senator Simpson would be useful here, because the author glosses over the fact that Obama’s debt commission called for an INCREASE in revenues as a result of tax reform.

The GOP would never accept the commission’s recommendations– or any revenue increases.

Posted by GOP4Obama | Report as abusive
 

Amazing…So many comments hopelessly driven by stale talking points: Still blaming Bush? Hel1, why not blame Eisenhower too? Turn the page already and either nut up or shut up with current policies. Good or bad (or incredibly pathetic), it’s Obama’s economy to own now.

Please, reggiewhitefish, explain, exactly, how “the lowest 85% are forced by elected republicans to fund further tax cuts for the rich.” Lol. You are an idiot spewing DNC talking pts. First, explain how tax cuts are “funded.” Is money set aside for them??? Or does the govt just have to plan around not having more of my money. Second, when the bottom 49% pays ZERO FEDERAL income taxes, it’s hard to fathom how they pay for anything. Third, how can we afford not to cut the recent increases in unemployment? If you’re angry that the GOP wants to cut unemployment back from 99 weeks, don’t blame them. Blame the guy that’s made it so difficult to find a job inside that nearly TWO YEARS time frame (that would be Obama, for you slower thinking libs – I know, redundant). And finally, how can “elected republicans” force any tax changes to happen without active help? They only control the House. Go watch some Schoolhouse Rock and refresh yourself on how bills become laws. The House can’t unilaterally create tax law. To remind you, the Dem House, Dem Senate and Dem president extended the “Bush tax cuts” and to cut again now would also require the Dems to agree.

Posted by IronMan2525 | Report as abusive
 

This is possibly the least informed and least insightful post ever. Seriously, is there a generic Republican talking point that Pethokoukis WON’T swallow whole?

Posted by Than | Report as abusive
 

This is more than just a political issue for Dems- it is an existential one. Big government, extensive entitlement programs and redistribution of wealth through progressive taxation is their reason for being. These are what are destroying the US and Europe, but the Dems cannot back down or they become irrelevant, and Pelosi knows it.

Posted by gootem55gle | Report as abusive
 

The writer is correct. We don’t have an economy in a vacuum. We can’t just erect an iron curtain around the US economy. The economy has to be competitive with other countries. That means the tax issue is dead. Taxes have to decline for the US to be competitive in the world market. Obama was just trying to save his presidency by driving a wedge between the GOP and its voters before the next election. It failed. The GOP is not completely stupid after all.

Posted by tatanka | Report as abusive
 

If I brought home $2 trillion and my family spent $3.5 trillion, I wouldn’t be sympathetic when they asked me to work a double shift.

Posted by Wilburn | Report as abusive
 

For those of you who are STILL propagating the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault”, Educate yourselves:

Remember the day…
January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the House AND the Senate:

At the time:

The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77

The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%

The Unemployment rate was 4.6%

George Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!

Remember the day…
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris(friend of Angelo)Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened a year and a half later was in what part of the economy?
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!!!

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment… to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
(BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was “Financially risky for the US economy”):
http://www.sportstalkworld.com/showthrea d.php?16828-Dems-Cause-CRASH%21

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac????

OBAMA (unprecedented for a Freshman Sen.)

And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie???

The HYPOCRITE in Chief Obama

So when the kool-aid crowd blame Bush…

REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007…. THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!

Posted by Malama | Report as abusive
 

For those of you who are STILL propagating the fallacy that everything is “Bush’s Fault”, Educate yourselves:

Remember the day…
January 3rd, 2007 was the day the Democrats took over the House AND the Senate:

At the time:

The DOW Jones closed at 12,621.77

The GDP for the previous quarter was 3.5%

The Unemployment rate was 4.6%

George Bush’s Economic policies SET A RECORD of 52 STRAIGHT MONTHS of JOB CREATION!

Remember the day…
January 3rd, 2007 was the day that Barney Frank took over the House Financial Services Committee and Chris(friend of Angelo)Dodd took over the Senate Banking Committee.

The economic meltdown that happened a year and a half later was in what part of the economy?
BANKING AND FINANCIAL SERVICES!!!

THANK YOU DEMOCRATS for taking us from 13,000 DOW, 3.5 GDP and 4.6% Unemployment… to this CRISIS by (among MANY other things) dumping 5-6 TRILLION Dollars of toxic loans on the economy from YOUR Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac FIASCOES!
(BTW: Bush asked Congress 17 TIMES to stop Fannie & Freddie – starting in 2001 because it was “Financially risky for the US economy”):
http://www.sportstalkworld.com/showthrea d.php?16828-Dems-Cause-CRASH%21

And who took the THIRD highest pay-off from Fannie Mae AND Freddie Mac????

OBAMA (unprecedented for a Freshman Sen.)

And who fought against reform of Fannie and Freddie???

The HYPOCRITE in Chief Obama

So when the kool-aid crowd blame Bush…

REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007…. THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!

Posted by Malama | Report as abusive
 

Would love for all those who believe the rich don’t pay there “fair share” to check the data at ntu.org, npr.org, or taxfoundation.org. Know the facts about who pays the federal bills in this country. It isn’t the folks in the bottom 50%. It’ not even the folks in the bottom 70%. And let’s be clear: the increased revenues the Dems and President want will NEVER go to decreasing the deficit and debt, they will only result in more spending. Always has, always will. Since the Dems took congress in 2007, the debt has gone from under 8T to 14.5T when the Repubs took the house just this year. NIce work, boys and girls, nice work. Tax reform NOW, and stop the spending.

Posted by wko | Report as abusive
 

It’s called Obamacare, because it was his signature legislation that he felt was more important than jobs and had to be rushed through despite fierce public opposition. It turned out the Obamacrats backed a turkey, and public opinion never came around. Obama still has to take responsibility for his leadership and run on his record.

Posted by possumdearie | Report as abusive
 

For the billionth time – I DON’T CARE WHAT GEORGE BUSH DID!
He also spent too much. There – I said it – get over it.

What are we going to do now? Obama has set off on an unparallelled spending spree. We got a phoney stimulus that was nothing more than a political payoff for liberal feel-good programs. Then, Obamacare, a true budget busting unraveling of the health care system. Then, huge tax increases, already enacted and to come. More government, more regulation, more programs. This has to be stopped and I hope the Republicans have backbone to do it.

Posted by cebva | Report as abusive
 

The reason Barack Obama won’t cut spending is simple:

Despite all his bluster about being a “moderate”, at heart he’s a committed leftist dedicated to “fairness” and “income redistribution”.

Cutting entitlement programs simply runs counter to his DNA. He’ll never be able to embrace it with any real enthusiasm.

Posted by Danram | Report as abusive
 

Obama has ensured that economics will remain the “dismal science.”

His so-called stimulus reportedly saved or created about 2.4 million jobs. BUT those jobs came at a ridiculous cost–$278,000 per job.

Obama is already getting his beloved tax increases via the misnamed “Affordable Care Act.” That legislation imposes tax increases on individuals and businesses that will add about $500 billion to the fed’s coffers over the next 10 years.

Where is Obama’s budget? Where is the economic plan that he should have begun working on the day after his inauguration so he could clean up that “mess” he “inherited”? Both are nowhere because Obama has been too busy flying around in his “corporate jet” so that he could expand his re-election campaign coffers.

Face the fact that Obama cares not a whit about the people he was elected to serve. Obama only cares about himself.

Posted by judithod | Report as abusive
 

I find it odd how so many Obama supporters don’t want our president to stand on his own two feet. He must take responsibility for his failures. Blaming and pointing to W. as his scapegoat will have to come to an end at some time. He will not be re-elected with unemployment at this rate according to history, although never in history have we had so many voters on the government teet which is his plan to get re-elected. W. failed the american people no doubt and will have to take responsibility, but shouldn’t that apply here as well?

Posted by GHMan | Report as abusive
 

There can be no “balanced” or “fair” solution to this situation when 47% of so-called taxpayers pay $0 in federal income tax OR even receive redistribution of money paid by the other 53% and Mr. Obama and the Democrat leadership continue to talk about raising taxes on the backs of those who actually ARE paying to support this bloated government.

Under Mr. Obama, federal spending has increased over 25-percent and he resists cutting the real federal budget by 5-percent.

Oh, and before Obama supporters start talking about “evil corporations” and “millionaires and billionaires;” tell me (a) who owns these evil corporations; (b) what happens when additional corporate taxes are levied; and (c) what level of additional taxes are “fair” for the (so-called) rich?

Answers:

(a) stockholders – the majority of whom are everyday people with direct investments or investments in mutual funds and retirement plans.

(b) corporations pay NO taxes – taxes – just like labor, materials and facilities costs are passed on to the corporation’s customers as either higher prices (paid – in the end – by you and me) or in lowered earnings to stockholders (see (a)).

(c) I await responses with hard firm numbers along with estimate of the NET revenue generated.

BTW, I dislike any discussions where either side starts calling the other side names. It is usually a tactic used to hide the name-caller’s lack of facts. Support your response with facts and not feelings.

Posted by ConservaTarian | Report as abusive
 

There can be no “balanced” or “fair” solution to this situation when 47% of so-called taxpayers pay $0 in federal income tax OR even receive redistribution of money paid by the other 53% and Mr. Obama and the Democrat leadership continue to talk about raising taxes on the backs of those who actually ARE paying to support this bloated government. We can talk about what’s “fair” and “balanced” when everybody has some skin in the game.

Under Mr. Obama, federal spending has increased over 25-percent and he resists cutting the real federal budget by 5-percent.

Oh, and before Obama supporters start talking about “evil corporations” and “millionaires and billionaires;” tell me (a) who owns these evil corporations; (b) what happens when additional corporate taxes are levied; and (c) what level of additional taxes are “fair” for the (so-called) rich?

Answers:

(a) stockholders – the majority of whom are everyday people with direct investments or investments in mutual funds and retirement plans.

(b) corporations pay NO taxes – taxes – just like labor, materials and facilities costs are passed on to the corporation’s customers as either higher prices (paid – in the end – by you and me) or in lowered earnings to stockholders (see (a)).

(c) I await responses with hard firm numbers along with estimate of the NET revenue generated.

BTW, I dislike any discussions where either side starts calling the other side names. It is usually a tactic used to hide the name-caller’s lack of facts. Support your response with facts and not feelings.

Posted by ConservaTarian | Report as abusive
 

ApostasyUSA, who controlled congress during Bush’s second term? Presidents don’t spend money, congress does. I’m sure you believe that Frank, Dodd and Shumur had nothing to do with a housing mess.

You quote many great stats, but where is your stat that when you raise taxes, revenues go down? and when you lower taxes reveunes go up? This is about generating revenue and cutting spending.

Posted by technicalfoul | Report as abusive
 

Boy now you’ve done it Peth. You’ve stirred up a hornets nest and the class warriors of Team Obama are gonna getcha.

At this point there really isn’t much that can be done to change the view of the government dependency class. They hate the successful and want them to bear even more of the burden of taxes. That is key to the future of an ever expanding Federal Monster. When the group that is required to feed the Monster gets smaller and smaller it becomes so much easier to justify its ever increasing hunger.

It is just a matter of numbers. The successful are a small group and easy to demonize. Small wonder that polls indicate that a majority of Americans favor tax increases on the “wealthy” to solve our fiscal problems. Why wouldn’t they? It’s not them after all. It’s that rich a-hole on the other side of town in his gated community making the sacrifice.

The funny part is that the successful have been pulling an Atlas Shrugged for awhile now. Responding to the policies of this administration you see what happens when the creative force behind business simply won’t play by Obama rules any longer. You can either make the tax code fairer and more competitive for those already paying a disproportionate amount, cut the excessive regulation or you can continue to see little economic progress and continued misery for those that depend on the creative energy of the “wealthy”.

Posted by Prezero | Report as abusive
 

Not sure where you folk are coming up with this “oh, the poor poor and middle class people will once again have to pick up the costs of running this nation!”

IIRC, on the day Obama took office, the top 1% (by income) of the country paid more income taxes than did the entire bottom 95% combined.

Posted by bobbybobby | Report as abusive
 

“What happened to the civilized discourse?”

Sleeping Beauty! You DO exist! Mom lied!

(After eight years of listening to the ignorant, scatological demonization of a president who was closer to being a Democrat than a Republican in many ways, and who was actually a truly nice guy, you can take your “why are you being so nasty?!” act and baraq it.

Posted by bobbybobby | Report as abusive
 

Technicalfoul, gets it (like many others here). I just listened to some of the Sunday chat show round-table discussions and – to a person – Democrat spokespeople say, “we are willing to look at entitlement reform IF we can look at ways to increase revenues.” People, we DO NOT NEED MORE REVENUE. We need more NET REVENUE – the amount left over when you take current income and reduce expenses. We are spending TOO MUCH on too many things that have no place in the role of government. If – as some of the Democrats say – we cannot balance our fiscal house without MORE revenue, how have states with balanced budget requirements been able to balance their books without increasing the tax burden?

Oh, and by the way, if you want a way to raise more revenue without adding ONE DOLLAR in new taxes? Start selling off massive holdings in land and other assets controlled by the federal government. Start selling more leases for mining and oil exploration.

Posted by ConservaTarian | Report as abusive
 

Pethekoukas is one of the most knowledgeable, thoughtful economics bloggers in media. Those who cannot refute him on substance are left to attack him ad hominim. Once again his arguments are well thought out and grounded in real economics, not partisan talking points. If any of you think that this level of revenue can be maintained by taxing “hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners” then you have completely drunk the Kool aid. Obama needs the mega rich to fund his campaigns. It is the middle class who will end up paying these taxes. How many people making 250,000 have corporate jets. Dunno any billionare couples making 250,000. If you work in a doctor’s office, or for a law firm or an accountant- basically any small business, these tax increases WILL threaten your job. Its frightening really

Posted by juicycub | Report as abusive
 

Oh please, Ironman, it is just a shortcut in language. The saveings to the government in spending cuts enacted in Wisconsin, New Jersey, Ohio, etc. are lost because the same legislation containes tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. Ryan’s plan in the house does the same. It is logical to assume that any legislation acceptable to the republican controlled house will be the same.

I agree that it is shamefull and unamerican that half of the population doesn’t make enough to owe income taxes. But the answer is not squeezing them for their last drop of boold. The answer is raising their wages. Wages have been stagnent or falling for the entire time of the “supply side” scam, but the wealthy have prospered. Incidently, this is why we have weak demand and therefor low job growth.

The repubs took control of the house by saying “jobs first” but have not introduced any job bills. Worse, they have refused to allow several job bills written by dems to reach the floor.

And pretending the repub controlled house is not responsible for the deadlock is transparently wrong. But elected repubs are pushing austarity on the vulnerable/least powerfull whial doing everything possible to advance the fortunes of the ploitically powerfull wealthy. Holding the entire world economy hostage until they get more for the “have moores” from the “have nearley nones”. This is the opposite of courage.

Posted by reggiewhitefish | Report as abusive
 

Back in December of 2010, the leader of the Obamacrats said that raising taxes on Americans would cost us one million jobs as he defended his signing of the extension of the G.W. Bush tax cuts. The extension of those cuts was passed by the Democrat controlled congress and signed by President Obama. Now Mr. Obama rails against the very tax extension he signed and defended. He says the Republicans are intransigent on debt ceiling negotiations because they defend that which he strongly defended and signed, and the Obamacrats passed when they were in control of both the legislative and executive branches. Now our leader wants to raise those taxes and cause the loss of the one million jobs that he, himself said would be lost back in December of 2010. Is this cognitive dissonance, hypocrisy, or stark self-serving political pandering by President Obama? Judging his past record on failing to keep his promises, it’s most likely the latter.

Posted by obackarama | Report as abusive
 

Its amazing how most conservative arguments are based on logic and fact, when most democrats argue based on “feelings” and “fairness”. Stop the ad hominum attacks democrats, they make you look stupid. This is directed at you: Apostayusa (except most of your arguments are just spun numbers that actually aren’t rooted in fact), and especially you Kate Cooper. If you guys don’t have anything intelligent or logical to say… why don’t you just not talk?

Posted by alexdavidson | Report as abusive
 

Reggie whitefish. You, sir, are a complete dumbass. You can’t just raise wages sporadically. Wages are based on a free-market system to determine what work is worth.

Posted by alexdavidson | Report as abusive
 

alexdavidson here’re a fair amount of fact that can help you understand why any of the Republican’s purported solutions are total crud. Democrats arguments are as steeply based in bull too, more often than not. Nonetheless, they are right to push the tax issue in this case. Some logic and fact for you:

http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-17 350-9_things_the_rich_dont_want_you_to_k now_about_taxes.html

Posted by gurari | Report as abusive
 

Good article, but don’t expect democrats to be swayed by facts. 15% flat tax, no graduations, no loopholes, no exceptions. When some pol thinks he has a great idea (to get himself re elected), that pol will have to face all of us if it raises our taxes.

Posted by zotdoc | Report as abusive
 

Alex, policy that favors labor instead of policy that favors capital (like we had for 50 years prior to the supply side scam) would gradually reduce the percentage of the population liveing under the poverty line. Just like the supply side scam gradually reduced our collective lifestyle.

The “free market” (for capital to exploit labor on both ends of trade) is what got us here, how will it change it’s results and benifit the vast majority it now harms?

We already know what capital believes labor is worth, by their outsourceing our industry to slave wage countries as fast as possible. They just have a hard time selling that production there, because few make enough to buy what thay produce. So they export to countries where workers are paid enough to afford more than essentials. The three decade plus decline in purchasing power of the workers here has finally reached the point that we cannot buy at our previous rate. Meaning there is insufficent demand to warrent any raise in production, and therefor no new hireing.

I believe until policy reverts to what was in effect when the U.S. created the highest standard of liveing in world history, (1970, or so) our national decline will continue. I have yet to see any logical, reality bassed argument, against this belief.

We can continue down this path to third world hell for the 85% who are workers, or tied to workers, and undeserved, expolited, enormous wealth for the few top percent, like every other two tiered country. Or we can attempt to make our government work for everyone like it did in the past.

Basicly it is a question of who do you believe government is instituted for, the common people of the rich and influencial?

Posted by reggiewhitefish | Report as abusive
 

b.s.!

Posted by shall1935 | Report as abusive
 

No tax increases. No “Mini-Deal.” JUST CUT SPENDING! Hear the American People when we say this: They told us Chevy trucks were unsafe, only to find out they had rigged the gas tanks with sky rockets; they told us Food Lion meat was tainted only to find out they had planted bad meat to help a union campaign against the food chain; they told us George W. Bush had tried to avoid active duty in the military only to find that the “documents” “proving” this were fake; they told us that if we spent 1 TRILLION dollars in so called “stimulus” money that our roads and bridges would get fixed and unemployment would go no higher than 8%; they told us that we had to spend billions of dollars on TARP or the entire banking system would collapse and yet the “derivative” system that supposedly caused it is still in place; Far left enviro-doomsayers like Paul Ehrlich said, based on junk/pseudo science, that the world would end. He said it would happen by the year 2000, due to a population boom, and that by 1980, “all important animal life in the sea will be extinct”*; we were told that alar, sprayed on apples, would cause cancer but were not told that test results were based on drinking 5000 GALLONS of apple juice per day; they have told us spending more money for education (and more government/union control) will make our kids smarter but test scores have declined for decades; they tell us there is no possible way government spending can be cut but spend billions of dollars studying shrimp on tread mills;** Now Obama’s tax cheat, Secretary of the Treasury Geithner, is telling us that if the debt ceiling is not raised so the federal government can borrow trillions more dollars the world is going to end….
AND WE’RE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THIS BULLSPIT NOW? HOW FRAKKING STUPID THEY THINK WE ARE?!!
*New York Post: Profits of Doom
**http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/20 11/may/26/tax-dollars-shrimp-treadmills- jell-o-wrestling/?sms_ss=email&at_xt=4de 5757256baaf5f%2C0

Posted by pebbles14 | Report as abusive
 

There are problems galore in the current debt discussions. Obama is, and has been stuck in campaign mode since he was elected. He ignored and continues to ignore the advice of his own economic advisers, and insists on raising taxes. Corporate taxes are too high. Markets are uncertain, and businesses are not going to do much capital investment, hiring or much of anything else. Republicans and Tea Partiers, help pass a balanced budget amendment, with NO smoke and mirrors allowed. Abolish the U.S. Department of Education, cut the Homeland Security budget and staff in half, close down the IRS and with it, the millions of hours of compliance and billions of dollars shuffled around to accommodate a tax code UNintelligible to mortals. Cut the number of government workers over time and dump programs that are ineffective and simply don’t work. Government should not be in the job growth arena, it should live within its means, exactly as most Americans are struggling to do. Stop overregulation and assuming governmental functions that have nothing to do with what our founders intended. While you’re at it, cut out the garbage about interstate commerce affecting everything government from the ocean tides to the rising and falling of the moon. Let parents decide where to send their children to school, not government. Let taxpayers, the few of us left, decide how to redistribute our wealth, we are FAR better at it than our current leaders and Congress. Stop creating dependency of Americans on government for everything, from cradle to grave. While government is at it, how about returning some semblance of responsibility to states for their own citizens? It is clear to me as a red-blooded American that government has become more of the problem, and far less of the solution to much of anything. You may assume that this voter is mad as hell, and not going to take it any more. (with apologies to Network). NOT all wisdom resides in Washington, far from it.

Posted by curtis41 | Report as abusive
 

The deficit is due to Bush’s tax breaks for millionaires and Bush and Obama’s useless wars. There was no deficit when Bush entered office. This is so simple even republicans can figure it out if they’d stop watching Beck and the drug addict. Social security does not contribute to the deficit–why cut it to save some billionaires yacht subsidy? As for medicare, well, do republicans really want to be known as the party that threw seniors under the bus, considering that seniors usually vote republican? Eliminate the tax breaks for the uber rich, stop offshore tax havens, end subsidies for big oil, allow medicare to bargain with big pharma, and have the wealthy just pay their fair share–that’s all anyone is asking.

Posted by cautious123 | Report as abusive
 

That would of been well and good if Obama was a Republican President – but he is not.

Posted by uc8tcme | Report as abusive
 

Without a likely deal it would be prudent for the Feds to have a real non-political contingency plan to prioritize spending cuts when the debt ceiling is reached (or before if possible). What’s the plan?

Posted by mikecardinal | Report as abusive
 

Gee, Cautious 123, where to start…

The deficit is due to Bush’s tax breaks for millionaires [but not profligate spending by a Congress controlled by Democrats since 2007 ] and Bush and Obama’s useless wars. There was no deficit when Bush entered office [debateable depending on how much trust you put in CBO budget projection methedology]. This is so simple even republicans can figure it out if they’d stop watching Beck [he no longer on Fox] and the drug addict [hard to watch someone on the radio, besides, I think he's in recovery - but since name-calling helps you hide from the facts, go right ahead]. Social security does not contribute to the deficit [since primarily Democrat Congresses raided the SS trust fund wait until the payout really exceeds SS taxes and then get back to me on this one] – why cut it to save some billionaires yacht subsidy [you mean John Kerry here I assume]? As for medicare, well, do republicans really want to be known as the party that threw seniors under the bus [yet Obamacare proposes billions of dollars of cuts in Medicare - who's throwing granny under the bus], considering that seniors usually vote republican [Facts? Oh, I forgot. You don't need 'em]? Eliminate the tax breaks for the uber rich [Yeah! Take 100-percent of all their income over $75K - see where that gets you], stop offshore tax havens, end subsidies for big oil, allow medicare to bargain with big pharma, and have the wealthy [Please will one of you liberals give me a hard definition of "wealthy" - just so I know] just pay their fair share [also please give me a definition of "fair share." Is it right for 47% of American households to pay no income tax. Shouldn't everybody have to pay something to make it really fair - oops, there I go again using reason] – that’s all anyone is asking.

Posted by ConservaTarian | Report as abusive
 

Cautious 123 offers a very good start — the rest is indeed “emotional hype” by the wealthy who simply don’t want to pay their fair share of taxes. The Bush tax cuts created this mess — simply reverse them immediately and we might have something to talk about, otherwise dump the talks, since they are producing nothing of value. Right now Obama is playing a sucker’s game with the Republicans who hope he will give in at the last minute, which he has a habit of doing. That is really what worries me — I simply don’t trust him not to screw everyone except to rich “to save the country.” If he does that, there won’t be a country left worth saving. Anyone remember the 14th Amendment and what it is for? Somebody remind Obama time has run out and he need to tell the Republicans he will use his powers as president to keep the country going until they come to their senses. THAT attitude is what we need out of our President RIGHT NOW.

Posted by Gordon2352 | Report as abusive
 

Ditch Obamacare, leave the Middle East to burn on its own and that will balance the budget without new taxes. Even the Chinese say so. Oh yeah, cut down on the extravagant campaign trips on the taxpayer dime and we may even have a surplus? Peas anyone? Myself, I prefer Tea!

Posted by iowafarm | Report as abusive
 

Basically the message in this opinion is to blame the president for not being a republican?

Posted by 8E35n7UvzaHcHgd | Report as abusive
 

It’s no wonder why the country is in trouble… Just read the comments. Unfortunately they reflect (nearly perfectly) the talking points of the pols…. We need real answers, and real soon… Otherwise it’s third-world status for your children and grandchildren.
Of course will all the cuts to education, it’s easy to see why no one knows how to think anymore…
Get schooled, it’s educational.

Posted by edgyinchina | Report as abusive
 

It is depressing that so few liberals seem to have any real facts as a foundation for their arguments. Case in point: Bush tax cuts are responsible for the current deficit. The fact is the non-partisan Congressional Budget office pegs the contribution of the Bush tax cuts to 9%, Let me repeat that, nine 9 percent. The rest of the trillions is due to irresponsible spending by the Democratic congress.

Posted by omoore | Report as abusive
 

Democrats frequently state everyone “should pay their fair share” of taxes. I agree. Let’s make sure everyone, including the 50% that now pay NO taxes, all contribute something to the national coffers. That’s fairness.

Posted by LDRider | Report as abusive
 

All of this would not pass the Republican House because it includes raising revenue. Why have the republicans not taken up the mantle of the commission’s recommendations and skewered the Democrats with it? Because it includes raising revenue and they worship at the mantle of Grover Norquist. No revenue unless it is offset by cuts. So no, the simpson-bowles plan was not an option for Republicans and it is disingenuous for Mr. Pethokoukis to say so.
Now, make no mistake, Obama is to blame. His refusal to face down the republicans with a plan of his own, along with the senate democrats, has just made the republicans dig themselves deeper into a partisan hole with this recalcitrant “no revenue under any circumstance” mantra. Now they can’t compromise even a little, and they have members (even a national candidate) saying “it doesn’t matter if we default”. Call me silly, but I think the public will remember that assuming something bad happens. Obama meekly sat by watching them move further and further towards this untenable position. Now suddenly, he has seen the light! Perhaps its good politics, but its rotten governance.

Posted by robscheerger | Report as abusive
 

All of this would not pass the Republican House because it includes raising revenue. Why have the republicans not taken up the mantle of the commission’s recommendations and skewered the Democrats with it? Because it includes raising revenue and they worship at the mantle of Grover Norquist. No revenue unless it is offset by cuts. So no, the simpson-bowles plan was not an option for Republicans and it is disingenuous for Mr. Pethokoukis to say so.

Now, make no mistake, Obama is to blame. His refusal to face down the republicans with a plan of his own, along with the senate democrats, has just made the republicans dig themselves deeper into a partisan hole with this recalcitrant “no revenue under any circumstance” mantra. Now they can’t compromise even a little, and they have members (even a national candidate) saying “it doesn’t matter if we default”. Call me silly, but I think the public will remember that assuming something bad happens. Obama meekly sat by watching them move further and further towards this untenable position. Now suddenly, he has seen the light! Perhaps its good politics, but its rotten governance.

Posted by robscheerger | Report as abusive
 

Not raising the debt ceiling is a de facto balanced budget amendment. So, why all the talk of enacting a BBA down the road? The democrats argue that if we do not continue to spend beyond our means we will have a financial meltdown. Funny enough, I manage my personal finances using this logic: I invest and save for my future by maxing out on as many 29% interest rate credit cards those gullible credit card companies send me. But seriously, either the spineless Republicans will finally stand firm, or we’ll soon need wheel barrows to carry around the cash we’ll need to buy bread. The real problem facing this nation has nothing to do with finances– it is that America has turned its back on God.

Posted by tomsmith | Report as abusive
 

Not raising the debt ceiling is a de facto balanced budget amendment. So, why all the talk of enacting a BBA down the road? The democrats argue that if we do not continue to spend beyond our means we will have a financial meltdown. Funny enough, I manage my personal finances using this logic: I invest and save for my future by maxing out on as many 29% interest rate credit cards those gullible credit card companies send me. But seriously, either the spineless Republicans will finally stand firm, or we’ll soon need wheel barrows to carry around the cash we’ll need to buy bread. The real problem facing this nation has nothing to do with finances– it is that America has turned its back on God.

Posted by tomsmith | Report as abusive
 

Statistics in an opinion column? Don’t be fooled Reuters-readers. There’s about as much truth in this article as their is in an episode of the Daily Show. Don’t forget what portion of the site Mr. Pethokoukis is relegated to. This is not news. It’s one man’s spin and rantings. He’s completely anti-Obama, has as little regard for facts as Fox News, and is clearly set on continuing the American delusion that Obama is evil. I’m not buying it, and I hope you don’t either.

Posted by TrueIronPatriot | Report as abusive
 

Extremists have taken over the Democratic Party; they are the – unfriendly to capitalism -establishment. This faction seizes upon crisis to exploit the short memory of the electorate.

But their ideology has no respect for private property and spends the future earnings of children and posterity who have no say; it is taxation without representation.

Progressive schemes lead to big taxes, spending, big government, and bellicose regulation. It is printing funny money, borrowing from hostile nations, bailing out unions and too big to fail crony capitalists that play the capricious DC game.

And with it comes the destruction of incentives and concomitant malaise, uncertainty and lethargy in business activity. People are afraid to spend, to buy homes, they languish in pessimism and fear. Entrepreneurs have no idea of the cost of hiring, regulations and liabilities.

These politicians do not want to argue the merits of Big Mother, rather they assassinate the character of those who differ; label all dissenters as “extremists” “racist” or fill in the ad hominem.

“You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” (Lincoln)

Posted by cornelius | Report as abusive
 

It comes as no surprise this liar would blame someone other than himself.

He’s the one that has the country in the grip of default, if you believe what he says.

If the man could speak one sentence without lying it would be a miracle.

I hope and pray that Boehner doesn’t back down and the Republicans stick to their guns.

The American people are taxed enough already. Families are losing everything they have and you see this grinning jackass on television acting like he’s our savior. He’s the cause not the cure. He’s the cancer that’s spreading fast.

Obama has fooled the people but now the truth is coming out and he won’t being fooling us anymore. There are the diehards that will back him no matter what. They’ve attached their star to his coattail but for the rank and file American I truly believe they see this man for what he really is and I sure hope we can vote him out of office or maybe incite the GOP to start impeachment charges against him.

Anything would be better than what he’s doing to our country.

Posted by disguested | Report as abusive
 

I would vote YES to a graduated FLAT TAX.. no additional forms, no deductions, no exemptions, no loopholes. Then compare who paid what under the NEW structure to the prior year. We all pay based on Gross Income. KISS

Posted by joanrhodeisland | Report as abusive
 

atoksoft

Posted by atoksoft | Report as abusive
 

Reuters, this guy is terribly biassad. I thought you guys were above spreading drivel like this.

Posted by surfinStevePi | Report as abusive
 

James Pethokoukis:
(brought to you by Rupert Murdoch)

Posted by horrias_circle | Report as abusive
 

Blame the party of NO

Posted by kc10man | Report as abusive
 

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