Obama goes on the attack
CLEVELAND – President Barack Obama strongly defended his opposition to extending Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and delivered a searing attack on Republicans and their House leader for advocating “the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place”.
Obama said the struggling United States economy could not afford to spend US$700 billion to keep lower tax rates in place for the nation’s highest earners despite a call by House Minority Leader John Boehner and other GOP leaders to do just that.
Speaking in the same city where Boehner, an Ohio Republican, recently ridiculed Obama’s economic stewardship, Obama said Boehner’s policies amount to no more than “cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations”.
Obama’s comments came as the administration rolled out new proposals designed to reignite a sputtering recovery, including new tax breaks for businesses and US$50 billion for United States roads, rails and airports.
“Let me be clear to Mr Boehner and everyone else. We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer,” the president said. The administration “is ready this week to give tax cuts to every American making US$250 000 or less,” he said.
Actually, Obama and other Democratic leaders want to extend the tax cuts except for individuals making over US$200 000 a year – or families earning over US$250 000. The sweeping series of Bush tax cuts expires at the end of this year unless Congress renews them.
Obama went after Boehner – who would probably become House speaker if Republicans won control of the House in November’s mid-term elections – directly by name.
Of Boehner’s remarks on August 24, Obama said the Republican leader offered “no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy we already tried for the last decade, the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place”. (AP)