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Obama: Letting Middle-Class Tax Cuts Lapse 'Unacceptable to Me'

4 years ago
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With the clock ticking on tax increases unless Congress acts this month, President Obama insisted Saturday that his compromise with Republicans is the best deal he could have gotten – and called on members of both political parties to "do the right thing" and pass legislation keeping federal tax rates at the low levels they've been since 2001.
"All told, this will not only directly help families and businesses," the president said in his weekly radio address. "By putting more money in people's pockets, and helping companies grow, we're going to see people being able to spend a little more, we're going to spur hiring – we're going to strengthen our entire economy."
In a rare meeting of the minds, the Republican radio address sounded the same themes, a harmonic convergence that is likely to only further inflame disgruntled Democrats.
"It's certainly encouraging to see that President Obama has proposed a potential agreement to stop all the tax hikes scheduled to take effect on January 1," Kristi Noem, a Republican congresswoman-elect from South Dakota, proclaimed in the GOP weekly address. "While stopping all the tax hikes would be a good first step, this alone won't eliminate the job-killing uncertainty hanging over our employers and entrepreneurs. That's why we need to focus on cutting spending and reducing the size of government."
Obama taped his speech Friday, the same day liberal Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was protesting the tax deal in an eight-hour talkathon – and on the day Bill Clinton backed the president in a fascinating, if somewhat impromptu, news conference of his own from the White House press briefing room. Obama served mostly as a prop for Clinton, albeit a prop that exited stage left on its own power -- leaving the former Democratic president to defend the current Democratic president over sniping from members of their own political party.
As he has for the past week, Obama expressed solicitude for the liberals' frustration that the 2001 income tax reductions will remain in place for upper-income taxpayers, but he pointed out that if Democratic Party intransigence resulted in gridlock, the Bush tax cuts would lapse on Dec. 31, leaving almost all Americans with a significantly larger tax liability in the new year.
"If Congress doesn't act, tax rates will automatically go up for just about everyone in our country," the president said. "Typical middle-class families would end up paying an extra $3,000."
"That's unacceptable to me," the president continued. "We know that it's the middle class that was hit the hardest by the recession, [and] taking this money out of the pockets of working people is exactly the wrong thing to do to get our economy growing faster. Economists tell us that this tax hike on working families could actually cost us well over a million jobs."

Obama said that this specter is why he brought Democrats and Republicans together to the negotiating table. Although he did engage in the requisite GOP-bashing – decrying the opposition party's insistence of retaining "permanent tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers and the wealthiest estates, most of which would go to millionaires and even billionaires" – the president reiterated that he was willing to accept those provisions in return for keeping low income tax rates on the middle class and extending the time that jobless Americans can receive unemployment insurance.
"So we hammered out a deal that reflects ideas from both sides," Obama said. "It wasn't easy, and it's by no means perfect. And as with any compromise, everybody had to live with elements they didn't like. But this is a good deal for the American people."
"Now, I recognize that many of my friends in my own party are uncomfortable with some of what's in this agreement, in particular the temporary tax cuts for the wealthy," Obama added. "And I share their concerns . . . But at the same time, we cannot allow the middle class in this country to be caught in the political crossfire of Washington. People want us to find solutions, not score points. And I will not allow middle-class families to be treated like pawns on a chessboard."

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Yes I voted for Obama. Will not do it again. He punted on the third down. How can anyone vote for his tax cut bill that puts another trillion dollars for our grankids to pay. He broke his word. I am 89 years old and I remember when a man gave his word and a hand shake that is what we ment. He also put SS on the slope to private plans. Anyone think for one second. When it comes time to start paying that 2% into SS again. GOP will say no that is a rise in taxes. Pay it into a private plan. Wait two years. I may not be here but I feel sorry for the rest of you.

December 13 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone know how Obama arrives at the $3000 figure for the 'typical' American family? I have my doubts that it holds up to scrutiny.

December 13 2010 at 10:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I find it interesting that people aren't screaming loud and clear to their senators and reps. with the earmarks that are attached to this bill. Why aren't we contacting our representatives complaining about the $4 billion subsidies for ethanol or how about the rum subsidies that we will be paying for? and what else will be attached to this bill that we will learn about after it passes. STOP GOV'T SPENDING--is that too much to ask while most of us are losing jobs and homes because of the inept Pres. we find ourselves saddled with? I just saw on 60 Min. how great Brazil is doing--yet I wonder why Obama gave $2 Billion for their oil exploration. We have untapped oil--why does Obama have to prop up Soros because he invested in Brazil Oil. We are trying to decrease our dependency on foreign oil. Yet Obama loans money to Mexico to drill in the Gulf--what does he want us to buy our oil from Brazil & Mexico while he places a moratorium on our drilling in the Gulf. I don't get it--wish someone smarter than I am could explain.

December 13 2010 at 4:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The unemployment was 4.6% when the dems took control of congress in 2007. We have a deficit because they have spent far too much of OUR money. Not because we are not taxed enough. Why are we talking about tax cuts? There is no such thing in this bill. what the dems are wanting to do is raise taxes. What a waist of our money, government will never solve our problems.

December 12 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Steven's comment

If the democrats are so worried about reducing the deficit why haven't they returned all the Bush trap money to the treasury to bring down the deficit. From what I hear all but 20 billion of the 765+ billion has been paid back. If they are asking the people to kick in more to help the cause then they should make the first move to lower the deficit. I have a feeling they are tryind to spend that like they did with the stimulus money. That money only stimulated politicians pockets and a few other pockets.

December 12 2010 at 9:04 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

Every time our Fed and State Legislators are debating whether or not to spend money, I wish they would ask themselves one simple question: If this money was coming out of my bank account, would I sign off on the expenditure?

December 12 2010 at 9:51 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

Bill Clintons in charge anyway....

December 12 2010 at 6:29 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply

Obama brought Democrats and Republicans together on this tax deal. He only wishes!!! He was forced into it. Brian Conway Kinderhook, N. Y.

December 12 2010 at 6:23 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

I don't think most Americans are employed by middle class Americans, are they? Where do most people find jobs? Fortunately there are wealthier people who do provide jobs for the majority of middle class.

December 12 2010 at 3:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to okitori's comment

in China

December 12 2010 at 10:19 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is the middle class that spends all their money and makes jobs. Take for example Gates. He has a net worth of 52 billion. How much more does he need?

December 13 2010 at 1:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The democrats should have stepped up to the plate, but I don't recall any congressional leaders making an effort to work with the republicans. Conversely, the republicans aren't really much better. In fact, I believe they're worse. During the past two years, their actions have been less than helpful. Moreover, I'm not so certain they understand the meaning of negotiate, compromise, talk to one another etc.

December 11 2010 at 10:50 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

The only true way to fix this problem and end all this stupid arguing over who should pay more and who should get more given to them is to have our federal tax code changed to a federal sales taxes on all transactions. three percent should be a good starting point. This way the government could do away with the expense of printing tax return forms. they could do away with the IRS except for a small department to handle the taxes.

December 11 2010 at 9:39 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

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