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Obama Discusses Tax Increases With Business Leaders

Danny Lee |
December 5, 2012 | 2:27 p.m. PST

Executive Producer

President Obama spoke to business leaders on Wednesday about raising taxes on the wealthy. (Creative Commons)
President Obama spoke to business leaders on Wednesday about raising taxes on the wealthy. (Creative Commons)
President Barack Obama warned Republicans not to let budget disputes affect the battle over the debt ceiling in his speech to business executives Wednesday, USA Today reported.

Obama was responding to reports that Republicans would be willing to approve extending tax cuts for the middle class now, before using next year’s debt ceiling increase to pressure the administration into agreeing to more spending cuts and concessions.

"I will not play that game," Obama said. "Because we've got to break that habit before it starts."

The president was making a case for CEOs to help him raise tax rates on the top 2 percent of incomes, stating that it will help the government raise more revenue and trim into a national debt that has climbed past $16 trillion.

The GOP has targeted eliminating tax loopholes and deductions in place of increasing taxes for households earning $250,000 or more per year. Obama told the Business Roundtable that the Republican plan would not generate enough revenue to reduce the deficit, according to CBS News:

"We don't have any objection to tax reform, tax simplification, closing loopholes, closing deductions. But there is a bottom line amount of revenue that is required in order for us to get a real, meaningful deficit reduction plan that hits the numbers that are required," he said. "Any formula that says we can't increase tax rates probably only yields about $300-400 billion realistically, and that's well short of the amount of revenue that's needed for a balanced package."

Republicans have not budged in their opposition to raising taxes on the wealthy, asserting that it would kill jobs and slow economic growth. However, House Speaker John Boehner conceded that inevitably, those rates would have to go up, CNN reported.

"We have got to cut spending and I believe it is appropriate to put revenues on the table," Boehner told reporters on Wednesday. "Now, the revenues that we are putting on the table are going to come from guess who? The rich."

GOP leaders may be left with little negotiating leverage thanks to Obama’s election victory and the public’s support for his campaign theme of higher taxes on the wealthy.

Polls suggest that more Americans would blame Republicans than Obama if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff. A CNN/ORC International poll showed that 45 percent would blame the GOP, compared to 34 percent who said Obama.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that middle-class families could pay an additional $2,000 per year in taxes without action.


Read more Neon Tommy coverage of the fiscal cliff here.

Reach Executive Producer Danny Lee here; follow him here.



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