President Obama is telling GOP leaders to read his lips: Some new taxes. The president plans to play hardball in budget negotiations with an opening figure of $1.6 trillion in tax hikes for corporations and the wealthy, the Wall Street Journal reports. The figure is far more than Republicans are likely to accept and is double the amount House Speaker John Boehner offered during secret debt negotiations last year, reports the Washington Post.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says letting the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans expire is a central part of the president's deficit-reduction plan. Negotiations to avoid the fiscal cliff begin Friday and Republicans say they are willing to accept tax rises in return for cuts to entitlement plans, though some Democrats have signaled that there may not be much room for compromise on Obama's plan. "It was an intrinsic part of his campaign, and the public supports it. So what more do you want?" says Rep. Sander Levin, the senior Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee.