President Barack Obama urged middle-class families who are in danger of seeing their taxes go up next year to begin using Twitter and other forms of communication to urge lawmakers to extend tax cuts for the middle class.
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Obama said Wednesday they should use a new Twitter hashtag, #My2K, to explain what they would do with the additional $2,200 that a family of four is estimated to pay next year if the current tax rates expire for taxpayers earning less than $250,000 a year.
“Today, I’m asking Congress to listen to the people who sent us here to serve,” he said. “I’m asking Americans all across the country to make your voice heard. Tell members of Congress what a $2,000 tax hike would mean to you. Call your members of Congress, write them an email, post it on their Facebook walls. You can tweet it using the hashtag My2K. Not Y2K. My2K. We figured that would make it a little easier to remember.”
Obama met with a group of small business owners Tuesday to discuss the impending tax hikes and other aspects of the so-called fiscal cliff that threatens to plunge the economy into recession next year unless Democrats and Republicans in Congress can agree on a tax cut extension and budget cuts (see Obama Meets Small Biz Leaders to Discuss Fiscal Cliff).
On Wednesday, Obama plans to sit down with the leaders of major financial firms such as Deloitte LLP CEO Joe Echevarria and Goldman Sachs chairman and CEO Lloyd Blankfein, as well as the chief executives of major corporations such as Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer, Home Depot chairman and CEO Frank Blake, and Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent.
“I’m sitting down with CEOs; I’m sitting down with labor leaders; I’m talking to leaders in Congress,” said Obama. “I am ready and able and willing and excited to go ahead and get this issue resolved in a bipartisan fashion so that American families, American businesses have some certainty going into next year. And we can do it in a balanced and fair way, but our first job is to make sure that taxes on middle-class families don't go up. And since we all theoretically agree on that, we should go ahead and get that done. If we get that done, a lot of the other stuff is going to be a lot easier.”
Obama plans to go on a campaign-style trip later this week to Pennsylvania and other parts of the country to promote his tax policy. "Even the wealthiest Americans would still get a tax cut on the first $250,000 of their income," he pointed out. "So it's not like folks who make more than $250,000 aren't getting a tax break, too. They're getting a tax break on the first $250,000 just like everybody else."
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Republican leaders met Wednesday with former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, who co-chaired the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, and the “Fix the Debt” coalition of business leaders to discuss a balanced framework for averting the fiscal cliff and solving our debt crisis.
“Going over the ‘fiscal cliff’ would hurt our economy and cost jobs, and people in both parties agree we need a ‘balanced approach’ to deal with our debt,” said Boehner in a statement after the meeting. “One thing Republicans won’t be party to is a deal that protects big businesses and preserves special-interest tax breaks while raising tax rates on the small businesses we’re counting on to create jobs. To show we’re serious about reaching a bipartisan agreement, we have offered to accept some new revenues, provided the revenue comes from tax reform and is accompanied by significant spending cuts. Without spending cuts and entitlement reform, it is impossible to address our country’s debt crisis. We put revenue on the table. Now, it’s important for President Obama and congressional Democrats to tell the American people what spending cuts they're willing to make, and I’m hopeful the ‘Fix the Debt’ coalition will call on them to do so. Republicans are eager to forge a bipartisan agreement that can pass both chambers of Congress. The framework we’ve outlined is the responsible path, and it is consistent with the ‘balanced’ approach the White House says it wants.”