The White House is pushing back against news reports President Obama is prepared to cave on extending the Bush tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans.
SEOUL (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he does not want to permanently extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, sending another signal he is willing to forge some sort of compromise with newly emboldened Republicans to win an extension for the middle class.The White House has been hinting it may be willing to come to some kind of deal on the cuts, which Republicans, heartened by their election successes this month, want to extend for the rich as well as the middle class."I continue to believe that extending permanently the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake and that we can't afford it," Obama said at a news conference at the end of the G20 summit in South Korea.
The primary issue is that of "decoupling" - separating the middle-class tax cuts from the upper-income tax cuts.
Yesterday, as you'll recall, the administration opened the door to a temporary extension of both middle-income and upper-income tax cuts. That was alarming because a temporary extension of both tax cuts would keep them linked, giving the GOP the leverage they need to extend upper-income tax cuts when they expire.The compromise position that President Obama had previously articulated would involve a permanent extension of the middle-class tax cuts and a temporary extension of the upper-income tax cuts. Under this plan, Republicans would get their cherished upper-income tax cuts, and progressives would finally decouple the upper-income and middle-income tax cuts, forcing the GOP to defend the upper-income tax cuts on their own terms when they expire
For those of us who are trying to read the tea leaves in all this, it might be instructive to re-examine the history of the public option.
In prepared remarks to the AFL-CIO, President Obama will say, "I continue to believe that a public option within the basket of insurance choices would help improve quality and bring down costs."
Again, compare that statement to the statement he just made about extending the Bush tax cuts to the richest 2% of Americans.
"I continue to believe that extending permanently the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake and that we can't afford it,"
Hindsight can be 20-20.