On Monday President Obama announced his desire to extend the so-called Bush Tax Cuts for families making under $250,000 per year and individuals with income below $200,000. If adopted, the Obama tax plan would be tantamount to a tax hike for everyone else, including small businesses filing as individuals. The announcement comes as the country braces for a plunge over the Fiscal Cliff in early 2013. Breakout welcomed Nathan Gonzales, the founder of PoliticsInStereo.com, to explain what the President's intentions really are.
Gonzales says that Obama's speech wouldn't be binding under normal circumstances, since the President doesn't actually set tax policy. The timing of this proposed tax hike suggests even less substance than normal. "This is an election year," explains Gonzales. "You can't expect anything to get done in Congress." Obama's stance is "positioning and leverage and how this election is framed."
Even if Obama were actually trying to accomplish something, his definition of rich, as anyone making over $250,000 a year, wouldn't pass muster on either side of the aisle. For a couple with children, a joint income of $251,000 a year, while hardly below the poverty line, does not qualify as wealthy once kids, housing and other taxes are entered into the mix. Even members of Obama's party agree, according to Gonzales, who says Democrats and Republicans are both circling numbers closer to $1 million in income as being more realistic.
Gonzales suggests voters all "take a deep breath" and just accept the conversation for the politicking that it is. Mid-July is well past the point at which the President or anyone else can be expected to get anything done before the end of the year. Obama wants to appear to be standing up for the little guy in the face of "The Rich." His presumptive opponent Mitt Romney wants to be associated with fiscal realism. Whether or not you think such labels can be applied to either candidate is yours to decide between now and November.
Please answer our poll question below: Do you support President Obama's push to extend tax breaks on Americans earning less than $250K a year?