With each passing day, the President sounds more and more like he did on the ol' campaign speech from 2008:
Right now, we could decide to extend tax relief for the middle class. Right now, we could decide that every American household would receive a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income.
But once again, the leaders across the aisle are saying no. They want to hold these middle-class tax cuts hostage until they get an additional tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
We simply can’t afford that. It would mean borrowing $700 billion in order to fund these tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans -- $700 billion to give a tax cut worth an average of $100,000 to millionaires and billionaires. And it’s a tax cut economists say would do little to add momentum to our economy.
Now, I just don’t believe this makes any sense. Even as we debate whether it’s wise to spend $700 billion on tax breaks for the wealthy, doesn’t it make sense for us to move forward with the tax cuts that we all agree on? We should be able to extend right now middle-class tax relief on the first $250,000 of income -- which, by the way, 97 percent of Americans make less than $250,000 a year. So right off the bat, 97 percent of all Americans would get tax relief on all their income. People who are making more than $250,000 a year, say, you’re making half a million dollars, you’d still get tax relief on half your income.
And everybody agrees that this makes sense. Middle-class families need this relief. These are the Americans who saw their wages and incomes flat-line over the last decade, who’ve seen the costs of everything from health care to college tuition skyrocket and who have been hardest hit by this recession.
Extending these tax cuts is right. It is just. It will help our economy because middle-class folks are the folks who are most likely to actually spend this tax relief -- for a new computer for the kids or for maybe some home improvement.
And if the other party continues to hold these tax cuts hostage, these are the same families who will suffer the most when their taxes go up next year. And if we can’t get an agreement with Republicans, that's what will happen.
So we don't have time for any more games. I understand there’s an election coming up. But the American people didn't send us here to just think about our jobs; they sent us here to think about theirs. They sent us here to think about their lives and their children’s lives, and to be responsible, and to be serious about the challenges we face as a nation.