Obama To Republicans: Tax Rates Will Rise Unless You Can Make Your Impossible Math Work
President Obama is giving Republicans in Congress a tough assignment: If you donít want marginal tax rates on top earners to go up, bring me an alternative way to raise $1 trillion in revenue without burdening the middle class.
Politically and mathematically speaking, itís a nearly impossible task. And moreover, Obama said he wonít allow Republicans to use dubious conservative theories about tax cuts, or vague promises of future action, to meet it. But importantly, itís also a way for him to enter negotiations with House Republicans without appearing to have closed himself off to any compromise.
ďWhat I have told leaders privately as well as publicly is that we can not afford to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy,Ē he told reporters at his first post-election press conference at the White House. ďWhen it comes to the top two percent what Iím not going to do is extend further a tax cut for folks who donít need it.Ē
But Obama hedged ever so slightly, to allow Republicans to figure out an alternative path toward the same revenue goal with the same distributional impact ó a task thatís eluded independent tax experts for years.