President Obama used his weekly address to urge congress to act now on the “one thing that everyone agrees on”, making sure taxes don’t go up on 98% of Americans and small businesses.
The President pointedly laid out only two scenarios: Taxes go up for everyone or Congress lets the Bush tax cuts for the 2% expire. Obama laid this on House Republicans, “The Senate has already passed a bill like this. Democrats in the House are ready to pass one, too. All we need is for Republicans in the House to come on board.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our economy is growing again and creating jobs. But we have much more to do. Our task now is to build on that progress. Because this nation only succeeds when we’ve got a growing, thriving middle class.
That’s what drives me. That’s what I campaigned on for the past year. That’s what will guide me in our work over the next four years. And I’m willing to work with anyone of any party to move this country forward.
Because soon, we face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs and taxes; on investments and deficits. Both parties voted to set this deadline. And I believe both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way.
When it comes to taxes, for example, there are two pathways available.
One says, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, then everybody’s taxes automatically go up – including the 98% of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. Our economy can’t afford that right now. You can’t afford that right now. And nobody wants that to happen.
The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income. That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut. And 98 percent of Americans, and 97 percent of all small business owners, won’t see their income taxes go up a single dime.
The Senate has already passed a bill like this. Democrats in the House are ready to pass one, too. All we need is for Republicans in the House to come on board.
We shouldn’t hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy. Let’s begin our work by actually doing what we all agree on. Let’s keep taxes low for the middle class. And let’s get it done soon – so we can give families and businesses some good news going into the holiday season.
I know these challenges won’t be easy to solve. But we can do it if we work together.
That’s why on Friday I sat down with Congressional leaders to discuss how we can reduce our deficit in a way that strengthens our economy and protects our middle class. It was a constructive meeting. And everyone agreed that while we may have our differences, we need to come together, find solutions and take action as soon as possible.
Because if anything, that’s the message I heard loud and clear in the election.
Work as hard as you can to make our lives better. And do it together.
Don’t worry about the politics. Just get the job done.
Everywhere I went in that campaign – from farms in Iowa to the Vegas strip; from Colorado’s Rockies to the Florida coast – I was inspired by the grit and resilience of the American people, by your hard work and sense of decency. And it makes me want to work even harder for you. I saw it again this week in New York, where our fellow citizens are going through a really tough time, but are helping each other through it. And we’re going to be there to help them rebuild.
Every single day, the good people of this country work as hard as you can, to meet your responsibilities. Those of us you sent to Washington are going to do the same.
Thanks and have a great weekend.
The President isn’t offering “tax reform” as the only method for raising revenue to Republicans, but that isn’t stopping them from stomping their feet and repeating “tax reform” over and over again to the media. But tax reform is a vague term and post election, Republicans might be able to hide under it as they give in to the inevitable.
“Tax reform” coupled with steep tax cuts for the rich was floated by Mitt Romney and he lost. On the other hand, cutting the Bush tax cuts for the rich in order to help generate revenue was a big winner with the public and it also happens to be a winner with non partisan economists. It also happened to be one of THE issues Obama campaigned on, and won big with.
However, the President worded the tax plan in a way that is meant to assist Speaker Boehner in selling this to House TeaRepublicans, and as cover for their eventual cave on the issue. Obama said, “The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income. That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut.”
Obama will give Republicans the dodge of calling it a tax cut for everyone, but the top 2% will pay more, after $250,000 of income.
That is also called a tax increase, but let us not quibble with poor John Boehner stuck between pulling the Norquist out of the tea and plunging approval ratings for the Republican Party as a whole.
As you listen to Republicans try to distance themselves from Mitt Romney and his “gifts” comments, ask yourself why, if they don’t agree, they are holding middle class taxes hostage in order to give gifts to the top 2%. Do they not think they are in Congress to serve the 98% as well?
Obama just laid the raising of taxes on the middle class on House Republicans; aka, fiscal cliff checkmate.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.