President Obama sets priorities on tax-cuts

Perhaps the largest issue to face Congress during its lame-duck session will be that of tax-cuts. The tax-cuts previously set by President Bush are set to expire at the end of the year. The question, however, is whether Congress should extend those tax-cuts slated for America’s top 2%.

Republicans have made it clear that they wish to extend all of the Bush tax-cuts, including those for the wealthiest Americans. However, the President and Democrats have argued that extending the Bush tax-cuts for the wealthiest Americans would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the nation’s fiscal hole. Instead, Democrats have proposed that Congress let the Bush tax-cuts expire for those above the threshold of $250,000 per year. Democrats further point to what they see as a lack of preparedness and/or sincerity on the part of Republicans to offset tax-cuts for the wealthiest Americans with meaningful spending cuts in other areas of the national budget.

This week, President Obama used his address to lay out his priorities as far as tax-cuts are concerned. During a press conference earlier this week, the President made it clear that his top priority is to ensure that taxes don’t go up on middle class families – a statement that some see as a sign that he is willing to negotiate. This week the President further addressed that issue by reiterating his opposition to permanently extending the Bush tax-cuts for America’s wealthiest citizens – a move that he says will cost an additional $700 billion:

“But at a time when we’re going to ask folks across the board to make such difficult sacrifices, I don’t see how we can afford to borrow an additional $700 billion from other countries to make all the Bush tax cuts permanent, even for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. We’d be digging ourselves into an even deeper fiscal hole and passing the burden on to our children.

I recognize that both parties are going to have to work together and compromise to get something done here. But I want to make my priorities clear from the start. One: middle class families need permanent tax relief. And two: I believe we can’t afford to borrow and spend another $700 billion on permanent tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.”

President Obama’s Weekly Address:

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