Three meetings President Obama is holding this week likely will yield clearer views of how compromise could occur in the effort to address the deficit issue and, in the process, avoid the fiscal cliff.
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Tuesday’s meeting was with AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka; Justin Ruben, the president of the MoveOn.org liberal-activist group; and AFSCME president Lee Saunders, among others.
Wednesday’s meeting will include 12 chief executives of large corporations such as American Express Co., General Electric Co., and Walmart Stores Inc.
On Friday, the President will meet with civic leaders. All three meetings are scheduled to occur before the president meets with congressional leaders on Friday.
The president has emphasized he is not willing to continue the current tax breaks for those making annual incomes of $200,000 individually or $250,000 jointly. This is music to Democratic supporters’ ears.
But he also indicated a willingness to cut entitlements
such as Medicare and Social Security, which is music to Republicans’ ears.
In the 2011 negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner, the president actually signed off on agreements to reduce these entitlements. And he had the support of his liberal supporters in doing so.
So the meetings are to garner support for his attempt to reduce the deficit
and to broker harmony among competing interests.
Just how big the cuts to entitlements will be is still up for negotiation. But the seeds of compromise were planted some time ago. All that’s left to do now is to bridge the gap on how much to cut, what to cut, and for whom.