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Tue Dec 18, 2012, 07:06 AM

Obama offers fiscal cliff tax concession [View all]

Source: CNN

(Financial Times) -- US President Barack Obama offered to back away from his position that tax hikes should begin at $250,000 in annual income, delivering a fresh concession to congressional Republicans as talks to avert the fiscal cliff intensified in Washington.

The White House proposal would leave lower tax rates in place for everyone except those earning $400,000 or more a year. Republican leaders had asked for a higher limit but the offer suggests there is a narrowing in the gap between the two sides.

A person familiar with the talks also said Mr Obama was no longer seeking a permanent mechanism to increase the US debt limit, but would settle for a two-year increase in America's borrowing authority. In a further concession to Republicans, Mr Obama agreed to apply a less generous measure of inflation to government calculation, which would result in lower benefits in the Social Security pension scheme over time, the person added.

The White House plan came as the shape of a deal to avert the US fiscal cliff -- which would entail a mix of $600bn in spending cuts and tax increases next year -- was at last emerging, with at least $1tn in new taxes, up to $1tn in fresh spending cuts and an increase in America's debt ceiling. Negotiators are scrambling to reach an agreement before the end-of-the-year deadline.

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/18/business/obama-fiscal-cliff-concession/

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