This morning, President Obama called in to the Tom Joyner Morning Show.
After thanking Tom Joyner and his listeners for their support and hard work in him winning re-election, he explained the fiscal cliff and how it affects the African America community.
The President also defended the integrity of Susan Rice.
Tom Joyner: All right, and talk to me and black people and tell us what is the [fiscal] cliff? How will it affect black people, and what can we do to help?
President Obama: Very simple. Number one, the Bush tax cuts lapse for everybody — not just the upper-income folks — at the end of the year unless Congress acts. So what I’ve said is let’s extend the tax cuts to keep taxes low for the vast majority of your listeners — 98 percent of folks — and let’s let them go up on the top 2 percent. All right, so that’s point number one.
Point number two, there’s this thing called the sequester, which is essentially a mechanism that was set up to cut an additional trillion dollars’ worth of spending, but that would have an impact on things like social programs, education programs, things that are helping people to find jobs and to get ahead and to have health care. And it doesn’t make sense for us to just cut stuff across the board. If we’re going to make some cuts, let’s make sure it’s cutting programs that don’t work.
And so all we need to do right now is for Republicans to agree to let taxes go up on upper income folks, just like I talked about during the campaign, just like the majority of Americans agree should be done, just like even the majority of Republicans think make sense. And if we get that done, then I can combine that with some smarter cuts that — on programs we don’t need, and that way we can fund things like education and job creation and all the things that we talked about during the campaign. So we’re having a — sort of a battle with Republicans who apparently didn’t pay as much attention to the results of the election as they could have.
But this is a solvable problem. It should not be a crisis. And the main thing that I need folks to do is just contact your members of Congress and say to people, don’t let middle-class taxes go up right now. Don’t let working people carry the burden of deficit reduction when millionaires and billionaires aren’t doing their fair share.
Sybil Wilkes: Is there such a thing as compromise, Mr. President?
President Obama: Well, there’s definitely compromise to be had. Look, I’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.
Sybil Wilkes: Could that happen within the next couple of weeks before the end of the year?
President Obama: Yes, sometimes in this town folks like to leave things to the last minute; but when it starts getting close to their Christmas vacation, then things open up. But we’ll see. I mean the one thing I will not compromise on is I’m not going to have the burden of deficit reduction borne by seniors who suddenly are paying higher Medicare, or students who are paying higher rates on their student loans while millionaires are keeping their tax breaks. That’s just not fair.
Sybil Wilkes: Are you going to nominate Susan Rice for Secretary of State?
President Obama: The truth of the matter is that I haven’t made a decision on Secretary of State, and I’m going to make it on the substance. But what I don’t like is when somebody is singled out, like Susan, who has done an outstanding job on behalf of this country and who has carried the banner for America in the U.N., I don’t like her integrity or her capabilities questioned; particularly when of all of us here in the White House, she probably had the least to do with what happened in Libya and Benghazi than anybody else. So I just don’t like folks being treated unfairly.
Tom Joyner: Well, you got Syria now to deal with.
President Obama: Yes, listen, unlike winning the NBA championship or the NFL championship, when you win, you don’t go to Disneyland. You come back to the office and you got this big inbox full of stuff.