“I believe it is time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire,” the president said. “Anyone making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton.”
“And this is not just my opinion. The American people are with me on this,” he added.
While some praise the president’s call to Congress as a move towards “tax fairness,” others see it as a clever election-year gimmick intended to shift the discussion away from other pressing issues,
including high unemployment and weak consumer spending.
“We’ve tried it their way,” President Obama said, referring to the economic policies of the early 2000s.
“It didn’t work. At the beginning of the last decade, Congress passed trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest Americans more than anybody else. And we were told that it would lead to more jobs and higher incomes for everybody and prosperity would start at the top but then trickle down.”
“The wealthy got wealthier but most American struggled,” he said. “We don’t need more top-down economics.”
The president’s GOP rival Mitt Romney has called for an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for everyone. Team Obama will most likely use today’s announcement to further the narrative that because the former Massachusetts governor wants to extend the tax cuts for everyone including those earning over $250,000 a year, he is ultra-wealthy and, therefore, “out of touch.”
“My opponent will fight to keep them in place,” the president said referring to tax cuts for Americans earning over $250,000, “I will fight to end them.”
This story has been updated.
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