President Barack Obama posed an important question to families across the country yesterday: what does $2,000 mean to you?
In a speech on extending tax cuts for the middle class as the fiscal deadlines approach, President Obama emphasized the importance of this tax measure for everyday Americans:
“If Congress does nothing, every family in America will see their taxes automatically go up at the beginning of next year…A typical middle class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. $2,200 out of people’s pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers. It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And middle class families just can’t afford that right now.”
He made the case that extending tax cuts for the middle class would give families peace of mind and give those in Washington more time to work out a comprehensive fiscal plan “in a balanced way – including asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more so we can still invest in things like education and training in science and research.”
Earlier this month, People For the American Way – as well as PFAW’s African American Ministers in Action and People for the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials and Young People For programs – joined more than 100 other organizations in calling for a budget agreement that prioritizes job creation, saving the safety net, stopping sequestration, and adding new revenue from corporations and the wealthiest earners.
Americans agree with this approach. A Washington Post-ABC poll released yesterday found that the majority (60%) of Americans support increasing taxes on the wealthy and that 67% oppose raising the age for Medicare coverage. As families across the country know, the solution to our fiscal problems cannot come from putting efficient systems like Medicare and Medicaid on the chopping block so that we can extend tax breaks for the richest Americans.
Beyond being bad for families, it’s bad for our national economy. As the Congressional Research Service found this fall, lower tax rates for the wealthy do not spur economic growth. Instead, as President Obama said today, “let’s approach this problem with the middle class in mind” – and make sure Congress isn’t taking money out of our national investments in health and education to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy.
Washington, DC – People For the American Way Executive Vice President Marge Baker released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s remarks today on the fiscal showdown:
“President Obama has offered a strong vision for solving our fiscal problems and moving our economy in a way that is true to our values and right for our future.
“Republicans in Congress have offered a plan that will hurt the economy and create even more hardship for those who are already struggling to get by. We know that austerity won’t put anyone back to work. Instead, it will cripple job creation and reverse the recovery. Republicans plan to raise new revenue by stealing from working families by ending important tax breaks while letting the wealthy off the hook. This vision, based on the faulty principles of Romney-Ryan economics, was rejected roundly at the ballot box and must be rejected on Capitol Hill.
“In this week’s election, Americans spoke loudly and clearly for a fiscal policy that creates jobs from the ground up, gives everyone a fair chance, and expects everyone to pay their fair share. President Obama has a mandate from the American people, and Congress must respect it.”