Obama seeks protection of middle class

2012-12-29 16:01

Washington - US President Barack Obama on Saturday urged Congress to protect the middle class from an income tax increase and lay the groundwork for future economic growth as Senate leaders begin work to avoid a so-called "fiscal cliff".

"We've got to do what it takes to protect the middle class, grow this economy, and move our country forward," Obama said in his weekly radio and internet address.

"Leaders in Congress are working on a way to prevent this tax hike on the middle class, and I believe we may be able to reach an agreement that can pass both houses in time," he added.

The comments came after Obama met with top congressional leaders on Friday and said that Senate Democrats and Republicans would work overtime this weekend to try to head off a $500bn time bomb of tax hikes and spending cuts called the "fiscal cliff" before a 1 January deadline.

The president, sensing a mandate from his re-election last month, wants to raise taxes on the rich but exempt the middle class. Republicans want only to close tax loopholes to raise revenue and demand significant spending cuts in return.

But if nothing is done by the deadline, everyone will get a tax hike.

Groundwork for future

Following the White House talks, Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will now take the lead in seeking a deal before Tuesday.

But any agreement would also have to pass the House of Representatives, where there is doubt that any deal signed off by the Democratic president would win favour with restive conservatives in the Republican caucus.

But Obama warned that if an agreement was not reached in time, he would then ask the Senate to hold an up-or-down vote on a basic package that protects the middle class from an income tax hike, extends vital unemployment insurance for Americans looking for a job, and, as he put it, "lays the groundwork for future progress on more economic growth and deficit reduction".

He did not elaborate.

"I believe such a proposal could pass both houses with bipartisan majorities - as long as these leaders allow it to come to a vote," the president said. "If they still want to vote no, and let this tax hike hit the middle class, that's their prerogative - but they should let everyone vote."

  • michael.bushes.1 - 2012-12-29 16:24

    "urged Congress to protect the middle class from an income tax increase " The only way to protect the middle class is by stop sending their jobs to China and India. One good way to initiate protection of the middle class, is by sealing your borders and stopping third world cesspoolers from putting pressure on the middle class. Middle class jobs have gone to Asia, they now compete with working class job seekers who in turn compete with these illegal immigrants for work. Step 1: Seal US borders Step 2: Stop weapons and financial aid to Israel Step 3: Bring American jobs back home to the USA

  • sean.bagley.50 - 2012-12-29 16:37

    Big businesses in America will still be making record profits whilst getting a s**tload of tax breaks,tax credits,outsourcing jobs and bad mouthing the unions.Republicans made sure of all that and being pressurize by the Tea Party numbnuts. More that 30% of the biggest companies in America didn't pay their federal taxes last year and on top of that still got tax refunds from the US government.The GOP claiming it wants to cut government spending,and yet they make it so much easier for big businesses across America to justify privatizing SSI,Medicare,etc by underfunding it. Worse case scenario when America does go over the fiscal cliff: 1.Reverting back to the Clinton era income tax rates. 2.Social Security payroll tax to rise from 4.2% to 6.2%. 3.Child tax credit for kids under 17 yrs to drop down from $1000 to $500. 4.Unemployment insurance to come to an end. 5.Dependency care credits also to disappear. 6.Capital gains to go back to 20% and the dividend interest exemptions removed. Allowing tax cuts to lapse can rein in the Debt Burden somewhat. With debt increases in 2013 sounds exactly what the GOP wants in the long run. Alleviating the tax burden on the poor in America to try and minimize the negativity surrounding when spending less.

      sean.bagley.50 - 2012-12-29 16:37

      continue... Obama's tax hikes on the $250,000 earners will only raise $80billion in revenues.The American defence budget for example is $700billion a year,but the annual deficit for that still remains at $920billion. Tax rates for the middle classes only means that you're told to live any which way you like and just dump all the cost of that on the next generations of Americans.Cut spending and pay your taxes commensurate with the benefits that you receive!

      gpinkhasevich - 2012-12-29 18:50

      Can you realise that wheltiest people make jobs more that anybody else and pay more that anybody else?$250K is high middle class wage

      patrick.saunders123 - 2012-12-30 09:10

      @gpinkhasevich actually no, they don't. This is a myth perpetuated by big business and the wealthy class. It is the small and medium businesses of the middle class that create the most employment. Big business off-shores employment to whatever country's labour practices border on slavery.

  • theMichaelHawthorne - 2012-12-29 16:51

    the world would be a beter place without governments, banks and religion...

      phosa.peter2 - 2012-12-29 18:14

      @michael, you smoked a lot today, nyaope is nt gud for your mindset

      fidelity.mcoshi - 2012-12-30 09:21

      I wish you hadn't mentioned your completion of matric!

  • mshiniboys - 2012-12-30 08:46

    Spot on Obama you see , it angers me everytime I realise that I was born in a very poor family.Later losing my father to an accident and forced to live with my gogo,I know that is not the point.worked my bottom off at school so I could get a better job and that I did.Today Im taxed more than those that have always been better off in life.Now when do I build my life when the govenment is seting me back through the stupid taxes?

  • fidelity.mcoshi - 2012-12-30 09:26

    An already burdened and bankrupt middle class, not even able to pay its way out of college debt. And a few dozen billionaires who pay less tax than their cleaners. It's an American Dream!

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