While the mendacious Mitt Romney raked in campaign cash from wealthy donors in Aspen on Monday and continued to hide information from the American people about the millions he has stashed in offshore tax havens, President Obama called on Congress to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the 98% of Americans who earn less than $250,000 per year. President Obama made clear that he views this election as a competition between two fundamentally different visions for the Country. From his speech:
“…most people agree that we should not raise taxes on middle-class families or small businesses – not when so many folks are just trying to get by. Not when so many folks are still digging themselves out of the hole that was created by this Great Recession that we had, and at a time when the recovery is still fragile. And that's why I'm calling on Congress to extend the tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 for another year.
If Congress doesn't do this, millions of American families – including these good-looking people behind me – (laughter) – could see their taxes go up by $2,200 starting on January 1stof next year. And that would be a big blow to working families, and it would be a drag on the entire economy.
In many ways, the fate of the tax cut for the wealthiest Americans will be decided by the outcome of the next election. My opponent will fight to keep them in place. I will fight to end them. But that argument shouldn't threaten you. It shouldn't threaten the 98 percent of Americans who just want to know that their taxes won't go up next year.”
Mitt Romney and his Congressional allies predictably trotted out their deceptive go-to counter-message for situations like this: Obama favors job-killing tax increases on small businesses and job creators. In reality, a tiny portion of small business income-earners, 2.5 percent, would see their taxes go up a modest 2-5 percent under President Obama's proposal. As President Obama pointed out in his speech, 97% of small business owners would see their tax cuts extended:
But here's the thing that you have to remember. The proposal I make today would extend these tax cuts for 97 percent of all small business owners in America. In other words, 97 percent of small businesses fall under the $250,000 threshold. So this isn't about taxing job creators, this is about helping job creators. I want to give them relief. I want to give those 97 percent a sense of permanence.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, ending the Bush-era tax cuts for those making $250,000 per year would result in $829 billion in savings over ten years.
Obama's proposal to help struggling middle class families by extending tax cuts for those making less than $250,000 a year while raising taxes slightly for the very wealthy is effectively drawing a contrast with Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. Obama's proposal is more fiscally responsible than Mitt Romney's, because it would slow increases in our growing deficit, and it clearly demonstrates the President's continued commitment to helping low and middle-income Americans. There are, indeed, two America's, and two fundamentally different visions of the path forward.