President Obama used his press conference in order to set a trap for House Republicans that will leave them in a lose/lose situation on the Bush tax cuts.
President Obama was asked about caving on Bush tax cuts in 2010, and why Republicans and the American people should believe him that he won’t cave again. Obama answered that the economy was in a different situation two years ago. He mentioned the unemployment tax and payroll tax cut extensions, but as he said back then this was a one time only proposition. We cannot afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy but we can make sure middle class taxes don’t go up. Obama prodded Republicans again to immediately pass tax cuts for 98% of individuals and 97% of small businesses. The president said we have to look at entitlements. Obama said, “When it comes to the top 2% what I am not going to do is extend a tax cut for folks who don’t need it.” The president added that we can’t afford to spend $1 trillion on tax cut for the rich, and the math doesn’t add up when it comes to just closing loopholes. Obama said that the issue was debated extensively during the election, and the majority of Americans agreed with him. The president said he wanted a big deal, a comprehensive deal.
Later on, Obama was asked if the Clinton tax rates are the bottom line, and if there would be no deal if tax rates did not go back to Clinton era levels. The president answered, “I am open to new ideas.” He continued, “If Republicans or Democrats have new ideas to raise revenue, reduce the deficit, protect the middle class, I am not going to slam the door in their face.” The president recognized that we will have to compromise, but what he won’t do is have a process that is vague that will sort of, kind of raise revenue. Obama said he does not want to find the country in a situation where the wealthy don’t pay as much as they should, and middle class folks are bearing the burden.
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