Raise taxes on rich, cut defense spending, says Democratic strategist
Democratic strategist and former White House spokesman Robert Weiner. He is the president of public affairs and issues strategy support group Robert Weiner Associates.
Credits: Photo taken by Richard A. Bloom

The most immediate issue President Obama has to deal with is the fiscal cliff.

There are many options for cutting the deficit while also preventing the impending round of abrupt tax increases and spending reductions ("the fiscal cliff") that could push the economy into a recession; one of them is allowing the Bush era income tax cuts on the wealthiest to expire. Democrats support the measure, Republicans oppose it.

“When (House Majority Leader) Boehner tries to say that there’s no support for raising taxes on the rich, he's wrong,” Democratic strategist Robert Weiner said, citing exit polls which show that almost half of all Americans support raising taxes on the rich, while a third oppose it.

He was encouraged by Obama's remarks at a Nov. 9 news conference and said he believes Obama will protect seniors' benefits and fight for higher taxes on the rich.

So where should the spending cuts come from?

The military, according to Weiner.

“I want to see the president have the courage to stay with his position that half the funding from reducing the wars goes to infrastructure and half goes to reducing the deficit rather than simply giving the money back to the contractors and keeping military spending the same,” he said.

Weiner is less confident that Obama will follow through on that promise (listen).

He is also worried about the huge sums both sides spent on the elections, saying “For both sides to think that they had to spend a $1 billion is a huge waste of money when the issues should be paramount.”

He blamed it on the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which allows donors to make unlimited, anonymous donations.

“Citizens United remains the most harmful, political court decision in history that had no place overturning the bipartisan McCain-Feingold law to start to take money out of elections with a 5-4 decision. “

Looking forward, he said he believes the 2016 presidential campaign will feature Hillary Clinton versus either Jeb Bush or Chris Christie.

President Bill Clinton has declined to offer a strong denial about his wife's presidential campaign, Weiner said, while last summer Jeb Bush said he regrets not running in 2012.