President Obama has made a stand that we have been hoping and praying for regarding the “fiscal cliff” – that he will veto legislation unless Republicans compromise on raising taxes for the wealthy. This strong stand by the President comes after the report in the New York Times that income inequality has now soared to the highest level since the Great Depression, “with the top 1 percent of earners taking 93 percentof the income gains in the first full year of the recovery. The yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots — and the political questions that gap has raised about the plight of the middle class — has given rise to anti-Wall Street sentiment and animated the presidential campaign. Now, a growing body of economic research suggests that it might mean lower levels of economic growth and slower job creation in the years ahead, as well.”
This is no news to those of us in the social justice world, with other groups like Sojourners and Network (Nuns on a Bus/Sister Simone Campbell) making “minding the gap” a top priority and a spiritual as well as moral obligation. This news, however, could easily be used against President Obama and the Democratic administration, since the gap is still widening…if it weren’t for stories like the one below. The President has tried to play hardball with the Republicans who won’t compromise on going back to he Clinton-era tax levels for the rich, but now it seems he finally has the opportunity to make this a campaign promise – that he will not back down on decreasing this gap. And this is why we are supporting him as social justice Christians for Obama.
President Obama is prepared to veto legislation to block year-end tax hikes and spending cuts, collectively known as the “fiscal cliff,” unless Republicans bow to his demand to raise tax rates for the wealthy, administration officials said.
Freed from the political and economic constraints that have tied his hands in the past, Obama is ready to play hardball with Republicans, who have so far successfully resisted a deal to tame the debt that includes higher taxes, Obama’s allies say.