Obama Rules Out Permanent Tax-Cut Extension for Top Earners, Axelrod Says
President Barack Obama has ruled out a permanent extension of tax cuts for the richest Americans while seeking to extend breaks for the U.S. middle class, a top administration adviser said.
“The bottom line is he wants to sit down and talk about this,” senior White House adviser David Axelrod said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “There’s no bend on permanent extension of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.”
Republicans want to continue income tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president for households at all income levels. Obama and congressional Democrats support keeping the reductions only for the first $200,000 of income for individuals and $250,000 for married couples.
“‘The president still believes we have to move forward with these tax cuts for the middle class,” Axelrod said. “But we can’t afford to borrow another $700 billion to pay for tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and a member of the presidential commission on federal deficit reduction, said Nov. 12 on CNN that he is ready to raise taxes to help the U.S. reduce its deficit.
At a news conference in Seoul, also on Nov. 12, Obama, who has said he’s willing to negotiate after Republicans won control of the U.S. House in the Nov. 2 election, said extending tax policies that benefit high-income earners would be “fiscally irresponsible.”
Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican, called for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts.
‘Not the Time’
“It is not the time to raise anyone’s taxes,” McCain said on “Meet the Press.” “I think they should be extended until we are out of this recession at which time we could look at tax hikes.”
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he expects Obama will extend the tax cuts in the so-called lame duck session of Congress, which begins this week.
“That’s the easiest thing to do politically at this time,” Greenspan said on “Meet the Press.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who will lose that title in January, told National Public Radio on Nov. 12 she will fight efforts to extend policies that benefit high- income Americans.
“That’s a lot of money to give a tax cut at the high end,” she said. “And I remind you that those tax cuts have been in effect for a very long time. They did not create jobs.”
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