In the lead-up to the election, Obama is looking to pull Mitt Romney into a fight over the Bush-era tax cuts. They aim to portray Romney, a strong supporter of the tax cuts for all income levels, as an out-of-touch wealthy American. Back in 2010, Obama heeded Republican demands to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, citing economic reasons. However, he has vowed not to do that again. Currently, Obama plans on only extending the Bush-era tax breaks for one year, and only for those making less than a threshold amount (200,000 USD for individuals and 250,000 USD for families). When Congress comes back into session, Obama also plans on making a case against providing tax cuts to those that are making more than the current threshold.
Chris Savage, writer and founder of electablog, told VOR, “I think extending tax cuts for incomes under 250,000 dollars is a sound choice given the current state of our economy. Generally speaking, that money would go right back into our economy because people that make less than 250,000 dollars don’t usually have a great deal of savings. It’d also avoid hurting middle and lower class Americans at a time when they are already struggling”. Many Americans share Mr Savage’s opinion. According to a poll released by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, only 18 percent of the middle class would like tax cuts kept in place permanently for all income levels, whilst 28 percent would like tax cuts to be extended for a year for the middle class. Chris Savage added, “Extending the tax breaks for income over 250,000 dollars, however, is unconscionable. It’s clear that these budget-busting tax breaks aren’t creating jobs, as the Republicans constantly tell us they will, and wealthy folks aren’t likely to spend more than they already are because they’re already spending a great deal compared with average Americans; their needs are already being met very nicely”.
Whilst many Americans agree with Obama, some of his own party members don’t see eye-to-eye with his plan. Nancy Pelosi, House Minority leader, proposed her own extension to the Bush tax cuts by raising the bar to those making under one million dollars, saying, “Democrats believe that tax cuts for those earning over a million dollars a year should expire and that we should use the resulting revenues to pay down the deficit”. Republicans believe that what Obama is proposing is actually a tax hike for Americans. Chris Stirewalt, writer for Fox News, believes “they’ve been selling a tax hike on individual incomes above 200,000 dollars for years as a way to make so-called millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share”.
By doing so, Obama hopes to portray Romney as a billionaire who’s out-of-touch with the American people. They’re also calling on Romney to release years of back tax forms to prove their point. Chris Savage noted, “The fact that he won’t release these records suggests that he’s hiding something. We already know he’s stashing income in offshore tax havens. The question is how much and why? All the currently available evidence suggests he’s doing it to avoid paying taxes in the US and, if that’s true, it calls into question his loyalty to our country”.
If Obama can pull Romney into a fight over the middle class, he looks like he’ll come out the victor in the upcoming election. However, Republicans think they have an ace up their sleeve. Chris Stirewalt wrote, “Republicans will counter that Obama is calling for a small business tax and Romney will be able to say that his economic plan includes an across-the-board tax cut”. Because of Obama’s poor performance at creating jobs, Romney can go on the attack, claiming that the tax cuts don’t go far enough and can even use those Democrats that oppose the small tax extension to help him prove his point. Whatever the outcome may be, we’ll be sure to see the fight grow more and more intense over the coming weeks as the election draws closer. Mitt Romney will be sure to bring up the job market sector, and Obama will likely bring up the tax problems that America is facing because of the small percentage of wealthy Americans.
Voice of Russia World Service