In an effort to undermine GOP opposition to letting the Bush tax cuts lapse at the end of this year, President Obama today called for the tax cuts to be extended, but only for families with incomes under $250,000.
Republicans have steadfastly argued that, with the economy apparently moribund, raising taxes on any income group by letting the cuts expire is a bad idea, Reuters noted.
The White House’s latest move puts pressure on the GOP to defend its position against charges it is protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class. It also provides a new distraction from last week’s extremely disappointing jobs data for June, a topic the administration would like to avoid.
It also undercuts an earlier proposal by Democratic House of Representatives leader Nancy Pelosi to extend the tax cuts to families with less than $1 million in income.
A spokesperson for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney called the president’s proposal another sign that the White House remained clueless about what was needed to accelerate the flagging U.S. economy.
The president’s supporters in Congress are facing their own divisions about extending the tax cuts, with some fearing the affect on small business owners, who could be hit hard if they expire.
Congress and the president previously extended all the Bush tax cuts for two years, but getting a new agreement in a presidential election year is proving difficult.
If the president and the GOP cannot come to terms on a tax cut extension – and on long-term deficit reduction – it is the country that will pay the steepest price.
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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