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CBS' Dickerson: Republicans Will Want A 'Pound Of Flesh' From Obama For Increasing Tax Rates

I would just like to remind CBS' John Dickerson of one thing. That "pound of flesh" he's talking about Republicans wanting to take from President Obama before they'd ever agree to increasing tax rates, is not actually coming from the President. It's

I would just like to remind CBS' John Dickerson of one thing. That "pound of flesh" he's talking about Republicans wanting to take from President Obama before they'd ever agree to increasing tax rates, is not actually coming from the President. It's coming from average working class Americans and seniors.

It would be nice to see the debate framed that way on these Sunday shows, when these pundits are casually discussing what pain Republicans would like to inflict on our population, rather than this just being some political game. I don't expect we'll see that happen any time soon though.

SCHIEFFER: Well, some people are actually saying maybe -- I'm hearing some liberal Democrats say let it go over the cliff. I mean, would they really do that? I mean, because what would happen, then you would have, I guess, the tax cuts would expire, but would they let these draconian cuts in, say, defense spending, where basically, the military wouldn't be able to buy gasoline for their vehicles and that kind of thing.

FOROOHAR: I think it's a dangerous argument. Now, I think the truth is if you go over the cliff for a couple weeks, no, that's not going to be a disaster to the economy if there's a deal in place, if a deal gets done quickly. But if you're on the cliff, off the cliff, and back on for weeks or months end that would have a really devastating effect not only on the economy but trust in our political system. And it's worth noting a recent Harvard Business School survey found most business leaders in this country see political dysfunction as the biggest impediment to growth.


DICKERSON: We used to walk up to the brink, now we basically live at the brink. All of this is the fourth or fifth round of negotiations of these budgets. And if you think about the politics of this, what is being debated is not just the central issues of taxes and spending that are key to both parties, but you have a president enjoying an election that he just won. He is doing well in the polls. The Pew Foundation put out a poll and said basically 53 percent of people would blame Republicans if we go over the cliff, only 29 percent would blame the president. CNN, 45 Republicans, 34 the president. He's feeling good about his political position.

You have got Republicans trying to figure out their new place in the world. And you have these various serious issues at stake. Basically, the thing to keep the eye on the ball here is the president wants Republicans to agree to increase rates. In 2010, Republicans were brought to office by anti-tax activists in the Tea Party. Their number one issue -- don't raise rates. So the president is asking them to do something right at the heart of their party. Two-thirds of the Republicans who were re-elected, were re-elected with big majorities, 60 percent. It's OK with their constituents if we go over the cliff because they're standing on principle. So how are they going to get the Republicans.

How is the president going to get Republicans to increase rates? He's going to have to do something on entitlements that allows those Republicans to say, hey, we -- sure, we agreed to increasing rates, but look at the pound of flesh we got from the president. The problem, is the president thinks he did well in this election. He thinks the country is behind him. He's not into giving a pound of flesh. They'll give something on entitlements, but so far it's not big enough to give Republicans what they need to get the vote here which is why we may go over the cliff.

And it's not just liberal Republicans -- Newt Gingrich, no liberal he, saying that the fiscal cliff is all - it's just a charade. It's something liberals are trying to do to get Republicans to agree to tax increases.

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