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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Obama Commits To Raising Top Tax Rates

Matt Pressberg |
November 13, 2012 | 7:49 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO has been a strong ally of President Obama. (AFL-CIO/Flickr)
Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO has been a strong ally of President Obama. (AFL-CIO/Flickr)
President Obama told a meeting of labor leaders and heads of liberal organizations on Tuesday that he will not extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

The president has campaigned on a deficit-reduction plan which involves raising the top marginal tax rate for incomes over $250,000 from the current Bush-era rate of 35 percent to 39 percent, which it was under President Clinton. Asked after the meeting about the president’s plan to let the current rates expire, White House spokesman Jay Carney gave an emphatic confirmation, according to CBS News:

“‘He would, as I said the other day, not sign a bill that extends the Bush era tax cuts for the top two percent,’ he said. ‘That has long been his position. It has not changed. He will not sign such a bill. That bill would never pass the Senate, but if somehow, miraculously it did, he would not sign it.’”

Tuesday’s meeting at the White House included major labor union leaders such as Richard Trumka of the AFL-CIO, which played a major role in helping President Obama win re-election by carrying the Midwest swing states. The meeting also involved newer members of the Democratic coalition like representatives from MoveOn.org and the Center for American Progress.

The president plans to balance his Tuesday meeting by hosting a small gathering of people who have not occupied one of his stronger demographics, corporate CEOs, at the White House on Wednesday. While he was meeting with their erstwhile rivals on Tuesday, many of these executives were also in Washington at the Wall Street Journal CEO Council, where Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave a speech defending the president’s proposal.

As the Wall Street Journal reports, Geithner said Obama is “not prepared to extend the upper-income tax cuts” and also deemed it impossible to raise enough revenue to seriously address the deficit solely by cutting tax breaks.

President Obama has opened his negotiations by calling for $1.6 trillion in new revenue, well ahead of the $1.2 trillion number from last year’s negotiations which ultimately fell apart.

The president’s statements on Tuesday show confidence in his negotiating position, but vanquished vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan was not ready to grant him a mandate to raise taxes, according to Politico.

Read more of Neon Tommy’s coverage of the fiscal cliff here.

Reach Executive Producer Matt Pressberg here.



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