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Obama agenda: A sharp contrast

The Washington Post on the deficit-reduction proposal the president will unveil today: “President Obama will announce a proposal on Monday to tame the nation’s rocketing federal debt, calling for $1.5 trillion in new revenue as part of a plan to find more than $3 trillion in budget savings over a decade, senior administration officials said. The proposal draws a sharp contrast with Republicans and amounts more to an opening play in the fall debate over the economy than another attempt to find common ground with the opposing party.”

The New York Times says that $3 trillion in budget savings consists of tax increases, entitlement cuts, and war savings. “The plan … is the administration’s opening move in sweeping negotiations on deficit reduction to be taken up by a joint House-Senate committee over the next two months. If a deal is not struck by Dec. 23, cuts could take effect automatically across government agencies.”

More: “In laying out his proposal, aides said, Mr. Obama will expressly promise to veto any legislation that seeks to cut the deficit through spending cuts alone and does not include revenue increases in the form of tax increases on the wealthy.”

“Administration officials said Obama will not offer any proposals to reduce long-term spending in Social Security, such as reducing cost-of-living adjustments. That idea drew wide criticism from Democrats when the president pitched it to House Speaker John Boehner in July,” the Boston Globe reports.

John Harwood sees the proposal as a way for Obama to reverse the income inequality in the country. “In 1979, when Mr. Obama began his freshman year at Occidental College, the highest-earning 20 percent of American households received 45.5 percent of all income before taxes. The middle ‘quintile,’ according to Congressional Budget Office figures, received 15.8 percent. The poorest 20 percent took in just 5.8 percent.” Now: “By 2007, as Mr. Obama sought the presidency, the share of pretax income received by the top 20 percent had risen to 55.9 percent — while Congress had chopped their maximum income tax rate in half, to 35 percent. The share of income for every other group went down.”

“Republicans on Sunday accused President Obama of inciting "class warfare" by proposing a new millionaire tax,” the New York Daily News reports.