Obama In 2011: We Can Raise $1.2 Trillion In Revenues Without Raising Tax Rates


According to the current narrative promoted by Obama supporters, Republicans are a bunch of obstructionist plutocrats because they won’t agree to raise tax rates. But in 2011, President Obama himself said that we could raise $1.2 trillion in revenues without increasing rates.

I think it’s a little silly how caught up we are in raising revenues through rate increases or closing/capping deductions. One method might be superior to another in the margins, but at the end of the day more revenues means more money out of the pockets of Americans and into the coffers of government. No matter how you do it, we pay more.

That being said, can we stop pretending as though Republicans are extremists because they don’t want to raise tax rates? In 2011, before the election, Obama thought raising revenues through closing/capping deductions was a reasonable course. Republicans think it’s a reasonable course now.

Why won’t Obama seek this common ground we’re told he wants so much?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • mikemc1970

    It’s not about revenue. It’s about Obama’s war on the rich.

    • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

      Then what do you have to worry about? Oklahoma was the poorest state in the nation this year. Dig that.

      • mikemc1970

        With evil rich socialists like George Kaiser preying on the poor, it’s no wonder.

  • factsarefacts

    Because he’s a liar and everyone knows it.

  • Harold

    This man can’t even keep his lies straight from one day to the next.

    • DakotaDave

      “You don’t need a good memory if you tell the truth.” — Judge Judy
      While that’s true for most normal people; Obama has the Ministry of Truth (the mainstream media) to shield him from the consequences of his lies.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Lies? Such ugly words…. he merely reinterprets the “current truth” so the lowly proletariat imbeciles such as us can comprehend these difficult topics.

  • Captornado

    You’re looking back. Everybody knows Barry is all about FORWARD now.

  • SigFan

    Because if Obama gets the Republicans to cave and increase taxes he knows they’re in the wilderness for the next decade at least. And if the Republicans don’t cave he’ll blame them for the impending mess next year. Heads he wins, tails they lose. Sorry to say it, but the Republicans are going to take a beating no matter what and so is the country at large.

    • RCND

      If this is the case, lets take the road less taxed

  • Guest

    Republicans in 2003: We will be greeted as liberators.

    • HG

      That has nothing to do with the fiscal cliff.

      • Guest

        That has everything to do with Republicans getting everything wrong.

        • HG

          Pathetic liberals.

          • Guest

            Pointless wars launched by pathetic liberals in last decade costing billions of dollars and tens of thousands: 0
            Republicans: 1

          • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

            I guess we’re not talking about the war Obama joined in Libya, or his escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

          • Guest

            Exactly, Libyans also didn’t start the overthrow and the cummalative effect of both was a cost of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of American lives. The two are exactly comparable. Derp.

          • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

            Well, Obama went to war in Libya without Congress, and while we can argue that the cost of Libya was a lot less than Iraq or Afghanistan, that really doesn’t change the principle at play here.

            And you’re really not addressing Obama’s escalation in Afghanistan.

          • Guest

            No, you can’t argue that the cost of Libya was a lot less than Iraq because it indisputably was. The principle at issue is not launching a protracted expensive war costing tens of thousands of American lives with no notable exit plan, something that was never an issue in Libya. The escalation in Afghanistan is irrelevant, as I don’t recall Obama launching the war, but simply trying to clean up the mess his predecesor left.

          • jl

            Did you hear that, Rob? Escalation in Afghanistan is irrelevant, just because Guest says it is. Thanks for the detailed, well-thought out explanation.

          • jl

            Pointless “stimulus” programs that stimulate nothing and cost more than the war in Iraq: Liberals -1 People with math skills-0

          • Guest

            Oh, I’m sorry, I thought we escaped another great depression and saved the auto industry. I thought we went from thousands of jobs lost/month to thousands of jobs gained/month. My bad.

            Conservatives driving the economy into the ground in the last two decades: 1

            Liberals presiding over solid economic growth: 2

          • jl

            If you think this economy is a “escape from a great depression”, and the fact that there are less people working now than when Obummer took office is a good sign, then there’s this: Liberals who whistle past the economic graveyard-Millions. Conservatives who still think libs are math-challenged (see above) millions upon millions.

  • Davo

    Top marginal income tax rate of 35% = Capitalism
    Top marginal income tax rate of 39% = Socialism

    • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

      The argument conservatives are making is that the feds have enough revenue and the problem is spending.

      And the math in on our side.

      • Guest

        Except it’s not. Both revenue and spending as a percent of GDP are still well off average levels, both by 2-3 points. Pretending only one is a problem is disingenuous, but we’ve come to expect nothing less from SAB.

        • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

          Oh, but the math is on our side. Revenues are up 19% since 2009. It dropped prior to 2009 not because of tax cuts but because of the economy.

          The problem is the relentless growth in spending.

          • Guest

            Oh, but it’s not on your side. Big surprise that revenue would be up in an economy that’s hasn’t dipped into negative gdp since the early 1990s. If the rates had dropped to 1%, there would still more revenue each consecutive year and revenue would eventually reach the same levels as before, but that wouldn’t change the fact that rates would be part of the deficit problem. Non-partisan fact check even states that spending and historically low receipts are the main drivers of the deficit. http://www.factcheck.org/2012/06/obamas-spending-inferno-or-not/ Keep trying to defend your meritless contention that math is on your side, it’s fun seeing the depths of your delusion.

          • http://sayanything.flywheelsites.com Rob

            Actually, federal revenue as a precentage of GDP is also on the rise since 2009 (see attached chart). We’re still down, of course, but let’s not get bogged down is static analysis shall we?

            The decline in tax revenues has little to do with tax rates and everything to do with the economic slow down. As you can see from the chart, after the much-maligned Bush tax cuts federal tax revenues grew. They dropped in 2008/2009 thanks to the housing melt down, not because of tax cuts.

            Thus, we should trim government and keep tax burdens low to grow the economy so that it will, in turn, produce more revenues. You liberals think you can just push the “tax” button and revenues will flow in, but that’s not how it works. The economy will respond to tax increases, and not in positive ways.

            I say we simplify the tax code. End loopholes and deductions and lower tax rates in a revenue-neutral manner. That would ease compliance costs from the tax code and lead to a healthier economy which, in turn, will lead to better tax revenues. Up to about 19 – 20% of GDP which is about all the federal government has ever been able to collect wherever they’ve pinned tax rates.

          • Guest

            You’re so inconsistent it’s impossible to argue with your incoherence. First revenues were fine; it was up 19% you exclaimed! After being pointed out that revenue was still at historically low rates, well suddenly your explanation is they’re low because of the housing melt-down. However, the economy has never stopped growing in the last two decades. It’s been growing at a slower rate, but it has not dipped into negative growth and revenue should have been growing accordingly, so you’re explanation of the low rates is laughable. Moreover, a huge percentage of federal revenue are the payroll and income tax, which have little if any connection to the housing market. Furthermore, you chastise liberals for believing that they can push a tax on the country and not expect negative economic and than advocate a system of simplifying on the tax code which will result in more revenue. The only meaningful difference between simply raising rates and overhauling the tax system being that the rich would keep their unprecedented low rates and the poor would lose many of the deductions they count on. Both spending and revenue are needed to fix the problem, and you’ve given no plausible reason to focus on only the later besides the questionable conclusion the economy cannot afford to having the wealthiest return the prevailing rates at one of the country’s most prosperous eras (and, non-coincidentally, a time of balanced budets). http://www.heritage.org/federalbudget/charts/2012/runaway-spending-tax-revenue-680.jpg

          • matthew_bosch

            What are the macro indicators for positive economic growth over the
            next decade?
            How can this slow growth cover 86 trillion in unfunded entitlement spending?
            What are the indicators which show a slow down or decrease in COGs for businesses? (Which are passed on to consumers/employees)
            What are the indicators for increased revenues of business/individuals?
            How is adding additional liabilities(tax increases) going incentivize the producers to release more capital into the market for investments?
            Looking at that graph there is still a large gap between the red line and the blue line. Something doesn’t seem right about that…

          • Guest

            Since you clearly lack any semblance of reading comprehension, my argument along has been that both spending and revenue are driving the deficit problem. Moreover, the proposal at issue is not raising taxes on everyone, only the top bracket, which historically has seen no relationship between the rate of taxation and economic growth.

          • http://twitter.com/matthew_bosch Matthew Bosch

            Since you have no comprehension of basic business common sense, in a down time you don’t overburden your revenue base(top bracket) with increased libilities, long or short term.

          • Guest

            Since you have no reasoning skills, austerity is not ideal in a recovering economy and the top marginal rate has shown little to no relationship in economic growth. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/news/business/0915taxesandeconomy.pdf

  • HG

    The President was just telling big business he’ll not allow republicans to use the debt limit as leverage in negotiation. I’d call his bluff. What the hell is he going to do, seize power? The arrogance of this guy.

  • http://thepoliticalinformer.com/ John-Pierre Maeli

    How can we raise money when we’re borrowing most of the money needed to keep the government floating.

    You raise taxes (no matter on who it is), you hurt the economy.

  • sbark

    Obama has already raised taxes on the poor and middle class, wiping out their advantage given by Bush Tax cuts…….the “rich” have not been affected by Obama Tax hikes to this point, in fact have been beneficiaries, via their produced products selling for higher prices, and labor costs being stagnent.
    Obama tax hikes were not even able to be voted on—Bernake did it on his own with Obama’s blessings——QE 1,2,3 and 4, with more to come.
    Its basic Keynenism economics—-in a economic correction, things have to correct, and the biggest is Labor costs to business. Keyenist/ Dem’cat economics pulls the hood over labors eyes with inflation. It corrects the cost of labor invisibly while allowing the rich to sell their products at higher prices.
    No party is for the mega mega rich than Obama is his bunch of 3rd world cretians.