Congress Must Extend the Middle Class Tax Cuts
December 8, 2012
In this week’s address, President
Obama urged Congress to extend the middle class income tax cuts for 98%
of Americans and 97% of small businesses without delay, and made clear
that a balanced approach to deficit reduction means that Republicans in
Congress must agree to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay higher tax
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
December 8, 2012
Hello, everybody. Over the last few weeks, there’s been a lot of talk
about deadlines we’re facing on jobs and taxes and investments. But with
so much noise and so many opinions flying around, it can be easy to lose
sight of what this debate is really about. It’s not about which
political party comes out on top, or who wins or loses in Washington.
It’s about making smart decisions that will have a real impact on your
lives and the lives of Americans all across the country.
Right now, middle-class tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the
year. Time is running out. And there are two things that can happen.
First, if Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their
income taxes automatically go up on January 1st. A typical middle-class
family of four would get a $2,200 tax hike. That would be bad for
families, it would be bad for businesses, and it would drag down our
Now, Congress can avoid all this by passing a law that prevents a tax
hike on the first $250,000 of everybody’s income. That means 98 percent
of Americans and 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their
income taxes go up by a single dime. Even the wealthiest Americans would
get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income. And families
everywhere would enjoy some peace of mind.
The Senate has already done their part. Now we’re just waiting for
Republicans in the House to do the same thing. But so far, they’ve put
forward an unbalanced plan that actually lowers rates for the wealthiest
Americans. If we want to protect the middle class, then the math just
We can and should do more than just extend middle class tax cuts. I
stand ready to work with Republicans on a plan that spurs economic
growth, creates jobs and reduces our deficit – a plan that gives both
sides some of what they want. I’m willing to find ways to bring down the
cost of health care without hurting seniors and other Americans who
depend on it. And I’m willing to make more entitlement spending cuts on
top of the $1 trillion dollars in cuts I signed into law last year.
But if we’re serious about reducing our deficit while still investing in
things like education and research that are important to growing our
economy – and if we’re serious about protecting middle-class families –
then we’re also going to have to ask the wealthiest Americans to pay
higher tax rates. That’s one principle I won’t compromise on
all, this was a central question in the election. A clear majority of
Americans – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – agreed with a
balanced approach that asks something from everyone, but a little more
from those who can most afford it. It’s the only way to put our economy
on a sustainable path without asking even more from the middle class.
And it’s the only kind of plan I’m willing to sign.
Everyone agrees we need to bring down our deficit and strengthen our
economy for the long-term. The question is whether we can do it in a
responsible way that allows us to keep investing in the things that have
always made America strong. I’m convinced we can. And if both sides are
willing to compromise, I believe we can give businesses and families a
sense of security going into the New Year.