Washington, D.C. - President Obama told attendees at a WhiteHouse press briefing Friday he wants an extension of middle-class tax cutsbefore negotiations begin on extending tax breaks for the wealthy.

The tax cuts in question - enacted under former PresidentGeorge w. Bush - are set to sunset at the end of the year. Obama wants theextensions to apply only to those making less than $250,000 per year.

The GOP meanwhile, wants to extend the tax cuts for thewealthy and have maintained thatraising taxes on any group would create problems in a wobbly economy.

The President cited economists who think extending thetax breaks for the wealthy represent the "worst way to stimulate theeconomy."

At the press conference, Obama elevated his long-timeaide Austan Goolsbee to chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, succeedingChristina Romer.

Goolsbee, 41, was already a member of the CEA and hisappointment does not require Senate confirmation.

Goolsbee, an economist with a Ph.D from MIT, is currentlyon leave from the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business and has beenan adviser to the president since 2004.

Romer, who recently announced she was leaving the CEA, isreturning to her teaching post at Berkeley.

 

 

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