President Barack Obama on Monday asked Congress to take up legislation that extends for one year the Bush era tax cuts for families earning less than $250,000 annually.
The nation’s biggest challenge right now, Obama said in comments from the White House on Monday morning, “isn’t just to reclaim jobs, but to reclaim the security that so many middle class have lost over the past decade.” A “strong middle class,” he said, “is what I believe spurs the economy,” not more tax cuts for the wealthy.
Said Obama: “That’s why I cut have middle class taxes every year since I’ve been in office. Let me repeat: we have cut taxes by $3,600 for the average middle class family since I’ve been in office.”
The nation, Obama said, doesn’t need “more top down economics” as Republicans have championed. Instead, he said, “we need policies that support the middle class.”
However, Republican leaders have said that within the next couple of weeks they would take up legislation to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including those earning more than $250,000.
What’s holding the nation back in rebuilding the economy, Obama argued, “Isn’t a lack of a plan or ideas but a stalemate in Washington on which direction we should go as a country,” and there’s no greater issue on which that “stalemate is pronounced than on the issue of taxes.”
If Congress fails to pass legislation that extends the Bush tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 per year, 98% of Americans would see their taxes go up by $2,200 starting next year, Obama said.
What’s more, he continued, 97% of small business owners fall under the $250,000 threshold. While Republicans maintain that letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the wealthiest means taxing the “job creators,” Obama said, “I don’t believe that. We all know that small businesses create the most jobs.”
As soon as Congress passes a bill extending the tax cuts for the middle class, Obama said, “then we can have a discussion about whether to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans” and “decide how to reform the entire tax code.” Right now, Obama said, “middle class families and small businesses should be given the security they deserve” because “they are driving the recovery forward.”