Obama's Next Battle: Fighting GOP for Middle-Class Tax Cuts
It's still astonishing that people making less than $250,000 a year are considered "middle class" in this country, but anyway: President Obama is ready to fight to extend the Bush tax cuts for those of us making that much or below it for one more year. Republicans are down for Bush tax cuts but only for the wealthiest Americans, consistent with their party's overwhelming lack of concern for the average citizen. The New York Times:
The president’s proposal could also put him at odds with Democratic leaders like Representative Nancy Pelosi of California and Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who have advocated extending the cuts for everyone who earns up to $1 million. And it will most likely do little to break the deadlock in Washington over how to deal with fiscal deficits, an impasse that has only hardened as Republicans sense a chance to make gains in Congress this fall.
But by calling for an extension for just a year, Mr. Obama hopes to make Republicans look obstructionist and unreasonable. Trying to bounce back from another weak jobs report on Friday, he also hopes to deepen the contrast with his challenger, Mitt Romney. On Friday, the president said Mr. Romney would “give $5 trillion of new tax cuts on top of the Bush tax cuts, most of them going to the wealthiest Americans.”
Strategically speaking, it's a good time for Obama to reinvigorate this fight: Romney's multiple offshore tax havens are under full public scrutiny, while the President is riding high off the Supreme Court's validation of his health care law. (As the Times reports, House Republicans are once again voting to repeal the law, knowing full well a repeal will never get past the Senate, thus wasting their time and our money.) The Times:
While Mr. Obama returns to the tax issue this week, House Republican leaders will press forward Wednesday with a vote to fully repeal his health care law, testing their faith that they can make the law part of their attack on Democratic economic policies against evidence that swing voters want to move past the fight.
Just as Mr. Obama needs to worry about divisions on the tax bill, some Republicans are in disagreement over the wisdom of relitigating the health care law. Some Republicans, facing re-election in swing districts, are openly suggesting that some measures should remain. Representative David B. McKinley, a Republican freshman from West Virginia, said prohibitions on lifetime coverage caps and on discrimination against people with pre-existing medical conditions should “absolutely” stay in force, even if health care costs would have to rise.
“If it means increasing my premiums, so be it,” he said. “That’s what insurance is about.”
Read the full piece here.