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Post Partisan
Posted at 09:47 AM ET, 08/22/2011

Cantor wrong. Obama clear on raising taxes on wealthy


After reading The Post op-ed by House Minority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Labor Relations Board were out to choke the life out of the economy — for fun. And you’d be forgiven for thinking President Obama was fomenting class warfare and secretly plotting to raise taxes on folks who can least afford it at a time when they can least afford. But there’s no secret plot. Obama has been upfront, consistent and clear on who should be paying their fair share.

“But the politics of division have reared up, fueled by efforts to incite class warfare,” Cantor writes. “For example, though he often talks about millionaires, billionaires and corporate jet owners paying their ‘fair share,’ behind closed doors the president admits to wanting to raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 per year and families and small businesses earning $250,000 per year.”

“Behind closed doors”?

“I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

That was then-candidate Obama in New Hampshire in 2008. In an April speech where he blasted the “Path to Prosperity” penned by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), he called for the elimination of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. So widely known is his pledge to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $250,000 ($200,000 for individuals) that PolitiFact brands his failure to do so a “promise broken.” In fact, the Bush tax cuts remain intact in the final deal that raised the debt ceiling. But not for long. The extension of the tax cuts are set to expire in December 2012.

As Ezra Klein explained a while back, Obama and congressional Democrats don’t have to do anything for this to happen. Nevertheless, you better believe a battle will be waged to make them permanent for everyone. I fully expect there to be negotiations. Read this piece from last May by Andrew Ross Sorkin to understand how $250,000 became the magic number.

But there must be shared sacrifice if the United States is to successfully dig out of its deep debt hole. The truly wealthy like Warren Buffett are champing at the bit to help. The American public is demanding tax hikes for the wealthy. Obama and the American people have been clear about wanting this to happen. So when will Cantor and the Republicans start listening to the American people?

By  |  09:47 AM ET, 08/22/2011

 
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