President Obama encouraged citizens to get behind his tax plan on Wednesday, arguing that his plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans would pave the way for deficit reduction negotiations in the new year.
“If we get this part of it right, then a lot of the other issues surrounding deficit reduction in a fair and balanced and responsible way are going to be a lot easier. And if we get this wrong, the economy is going to go south,” Obama said at an event at the White House.
“It’s too important for Washington to screw this up,” the president said.
Allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for the highest earners—while extending a tax cut on the first $250,000 of everyone’s income— would be the best way to set the stage for further negotiations, Obama argued.
“It would give us more time next year to work together on a comprehensive plan to bring down our deficits, to streamline our tax system, do it in a balanced way,” he said. “Including asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more so we can still invest in things like education and training and science and research.”
He called on House Republicans to join House Democrats and the Senate in backing his plan, as in theory, at least, both parties already agree that middle class taxes shouldn’t go up.
As for a larger deal on reducing the government’s long-term deficit, the president said he was hopeful a framework could be agreed to soon. “I believe that both parties can agree on a framework that does that in the coming weeks. In fact, my hope is to get this done before Christmas,” Obama said.