Obama to call for broad tax increases

President Obama on Monday will propose a deficit plan that calls for about three dollars in new tax increases for every dollar in additional spending cuts as he seeks to put his imprint on the ongoing talks over reducing the government’s staggering debt burden.

In a plan his advisors described as his ideological vision, rather than a compromise offer to the GOP, Mr. Obama will also threaten to veto any plan Congress sends him that tackles entitlements but doesn’t include tax increases, which he will argue is central to a “balanced” approach.

“The president will make clear he’s not going to support any plan that asks everything of some Americans, nothing of others,” said an administration official, who briefed reporters Sunday night in advance of a speech Mr. Obama is scheduled to give Monday. “He will veto any bill that takes one dime from the Medicare benefits seniors rely on without asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their share.”

Mr. Obama will argue his plan totals $4.4 trillion in deficit reduction, though $1.1 trillion of that comes from war savings all sides agree was going to happen anyway, another $1.2 trillion that has already been enacted, and more than $450 billion in tax increases he proposed last week — and has already accounted for in new spending. Another $430 billion comes from lower interest payments because of the potential lower debt.

That means in terms of actual new proposals, the president’s plan totals about $1.2 trillion, of which the lion’s share comes from his long-standing vow to raise taxes back to Clinton-era rates on the top income brackets. The rest is $580 billion in reductions to formula-driven entitlement programs, though officials on Sunday wouldn’t detail what those cuts were, saying the specifics would be released Monday.

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California City Fines Couple for Holding Bible Study in Their Home

A southern California couple has been fined $300 dollars for holding Christian Bible study sessions in their home, and could face another $500 for each additional gathering.

City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. say Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.

The Fromms appealed their citations but were denied and warned future sessions would carry heftier penalties. A statement from the Pacific Justice Institute, which is defending the couple in a lawsuit against the city, said Chuck Fromm was also told regular gatherings of three or more people require a conditional use permit, which can be costly and difficult to obtain.

“How dare they tell us we can’t have whatever we want in our home,” Stephanie Fromm told the Capistrano Dispatch. “We want to be able to use our home. We’ve paid a lot and invested a lot in our home and backyard … I should be able to be hospitable in my home.”

According to the Dispatch, the Fromms live in a neighborhood with large homes and have a corral, barn, pool and huge back lawn on their property, so parking and noise aren’t a problem.

“There’s no singing or music,” Stephanie said. “It’s meditative.”

The Dispatch reported a code-enforcement officer gave the Fromms a verbal warning about the meetings in May, then returned to issue citations in June and July. According to the paper, the city’s code-enforcement department is reactive, meaning they only respond to complaints.

Read more here.

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