Former President Bill Clinton during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday revealed two intriguing bits of information: a) he has no idea how Congress plans to deal with the impending “fiscal cliff” and b) he knows several Republicans who would be willing to pay higher taxes so long as it’s part of a long-term budget deal.
“What they need to do now is avoid the ‘fiscal cliff’ and make a long-term deal,” Clinton said, referring to the automatic tax increases and spending cuts that will go into effect January 2013 unless Congress takes action.
“I understand the president’s reluctance to extend the [Bush-era] tax cuts for upper-income people again has a lot to do with the calendar, the timing, when you had all those Republican candidates for president saying they would oppose a budget deal that had $10 tax spending cuts for everyone $1 in tax increases. That won’t work,” he added.
He went on to explain the elements necessary for what, he thinks, is a reasonable approach to the country’s swelling debt burden.
“You can’t bring the debt down without three things,” Clinton continued, “you have to have economic growth, spending restraint, and some revenues — a balanced approach. I think that’s what [President Obama] wants, that’s what I support.”
“I don’t think that he can get that if he gives away one leg of the three-legged stool before the negotiations even start. That’s really what’s going on here,” he added.
“I should say that most of the Republicans I know who would have to pay higher taxes agree that they should — if it’s part of a budget deal. They just want it to be part of a long-term budget deal where they see it’s a balanced plan that will do something about the debt,” Clinton added.
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Front page photo source courtesy the AP. This story has been updated.