Leaving the wealthy out of the equation for the moment, President Barack Obama declared on Monday that it is time for Democrats and Republicans to unite and extend tax breaks for all those Americans making under $250,000.
The tax-cuts in question were first introduced during the Bush administration, and included those taxpayers in the higher echelons of earners. Obama does not want to discuss whether to extend tax-cuts also to the rich until after November’s election.
“The Republicans say they don’t want to raise taxes on the middle class, and I don’t want to raise taxes on the middle class, so we should all agree to extend the tax cut for the middle class. Let’s agree to do what we agree on,” he said in the East Room of the White House, surrounded by people who would directly benefit from the tax-cut extension. “Let’s not hold the vast majority of the Americans and the entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.”
Obama said nothing new here; he was just restating what has always been White House policy. But what was interesting about the announcement was that it is part of a wider assault on Mitt Romney and his reputation as clueless when it comes to support for the rich in the US.
“Pass a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class, I will sign it tomorrow. Pass it next week, I’ll sign it next week,” Obama said. “Right now our priority needs to be giving middle class Americans and small businesses the security they deserve.”
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary said later that Obama will veto any bill calling for a tax-break extension that included incomes over $250,000.