Geithner Predicts Tax Cut Deal This Year

Treasury secretary nuanced on whether cuts will extend to wealthy

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Tuesday it is "quite likely" the White House and Congress will reach a deal to address the expiring Bush-era tax cuts by the end of the year.

"It's not rocket science," Geithner said at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council in Washington, adding that "it should not be a complicated problem to solve."

In explaining the administration's negotiating position, the Journal reports Geithner said the White House wants to see a permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. He said the administration "would not favor" extending tax cuts for wealthier earners and "would be very much against" a permanent extension for high-income individuals.

As the paper notes, the nuance between "would not favor" and "very much against" appears to be the negotiating space in which the administration and Congress will hash out an agreement. Geithner wouldn't speculate whether the administration would agree to a multiyear extension of the tax cuts.

The paper also notes he said any deal on the tax cuts should include an agreement to address the alternative minimum tax and the estate tax. He said the country needs an overhaul of the tax system, in part because so many tax provisions have to be extended each year, causing uncertainty for the business community.

"I will say that it's not a sensible way to run a country to have this magnitude of tax issues left to annual uncertainty," he said.

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