Obama to ap­peal to pub­lic on fis­cal cliff

The Pak Banker - - Front Page -

WASHINGTON

Pres­i­dent Barack Obama plans to make a pub­lic case this week for his strat­egy for deal­ing with the loom­ing fis­cal cliff, trav­el­ing to the Philadel­phia sub­urbs Fri­day as he pres­sures Repub­li­cans to al­low tax in­creases on the wealthy while ex­tend­ing tax cuts for fam­i­lies earn­ing $250,000 or less.

The White House said Tues­day that the pres­i­dent in­tends to hold a se­ries of events to build sup­port for his ap­proach to avoid across-the­board tax in­creases and steep spend­ing cuts in de­fense and domestic pro­grams. Obama will meet with small busi­ness own­ers at the White House on Tues­day and with mid­dle-class fam­i­lies on Wed­nes­day.

The pres­i­dent’s visit to a small busi­ness in Hat­field, Pa., that makes parts for a con­struc­tion toy com­pany will cap a week of pub­lic outreach as the White House and con­gres­sional lead­ers ne­go­ti­ate a way to avoid the tax in­creases and spend­ing cuts sched­uled to take ef­fect Jan. 1. The trip will mark Obama’s first pub­lic event out­side the na­tion’s cap­i­tal since win­ning re-elec­tion.

Both sides warn the so­called “fis­cal cliff” could harm the na­tion’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery, but an agree­ment still ap­pears far from as­sured. The White House and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans have dif­fered on whether to raise rev­enue through higher tax rates or by clos­ing tax loop­holes and de­duc­tions.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pushed for rais­ing ad­di­tional rev­enue through the re­duc­ing of tax loop­holes in­stead of rais­ing tax rates on wealthy Amer­i­cans. The White House has coun­tered that the pres­i­dent will not sign leg­is­la­tion that ex­tends cur­rent tax rates to the top 2 per­cent of in­come earn­ers, or those house­holds with in­comes over $250,000.

Obama, only weeks af­ter win­ning re-elec­tion, has sig­naled his in­ten­tion to rally the pub­lic to pres­sure Congress to sup­port his agenda, an ap­proach that helped him win pas­sage of a pay­roll tax cut ex­ten­sion and pre­vented in­ter­est rates on mil­lions of fed­eral stu­dent loans from dou­bling last sum­mer.

Obama cam­paign man­ager Jim Messina said in an email to sup­port­ers af­ter the elec­tion that the pres­i­dent’s vol­un­teer base was cru­cial to his re-elec­tion but said it was not aimed “just to win a cam­paign. We have more progress to make, and there’s only one way to do it: to­gether.”

Fol­low­ing the elec­tion, Obama aides asked sup­port­ers to record YouTube videos dis­cussing the need to have the wealth­i­est Amer­i­cans pay more in taxes. Some of the peo­ple who shared their sto­ries on YouTube planned to join Obama at the White House on Wed­nes­day.

On Fri­day, Obama will tour and de­liver re­marks at The Rodon Group man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Hat­field, Pa., of­fer­ing the com­pany up as an ex­am­ple of a busi­ness that de­pends on mid­dle-class con­sumers dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. The com­pany man­u­fac­tures parts for K’NEX Brands, a con­struc­tion toy com­pany whose prod­ucts in­clude Tinker­toy, K’NEX Build­ing Sets and An­gry Birds Build­ing Sets.Con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans, led by Boehner, have ex­pressed open­ness to dis­cussing ad­di­tional rev­enue but op­pose any plan that raises tax rates on the wealthy. They ar­gue that the higher rates would also hurt some small busi­nesses and hin­der eco­nomic growth.

Repub­li­cans have called for changes to the tax code to elim­i­nate tax breaks and loop­holes that pri­mar­ily ben­e­fit the wealthy. Sev­eral key Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have also said they would not be bound by a no-tax-in­crease pledge that they have ad­hered to in the past.

Boehner and GOP lead­ers planned to meet Wed­nes­day with mem­bers of a bi­par­ti­san coali­tion of former mem­bers of Congress and busi­ness lead­ers that has ad­vo­cated cuts in spend­ing in ma­jor health care pro­grams as well as changes in the tax code to raise more money but also to lower rates.

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