Obama takes ‘fiscal cliff’ push to one family’s living room
President Barack Obama is taking his campaign to raise taxes on the richest Americans right into the home of a middle-class family in Northern Virginia on Thursday, the White House said.
Obama, locked in seemingly stalled negotiations with Republicans opposed to the tax hike, has been waging an aggressive PR war to keep the public on his side in the dispute. In addition to his brief foray into a Washington, D.C., suburb, the president will sit down for an interview with People magazine just days after doing one with Bloomberg TV. And the White House has been active online as well, emailing supporters to keep them engaged after the hard-fought 2012 presidential campaign and promoting a Twitter hashtag, #My2K, for users to weigh in.
Obama wants to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for individuals making more than $200,000 and families pulling in more than $250,000. He argues that the alternative is cuts to programs that the White House regards as fostering economic growth—things like college loan programs and infrastructure investments. Republicans have refused to let income tax rates on the wealthiest rise back to Clinton-era levels, warning that this will hurt some small businesses and take investment cash out of the economy. Obama has warned he will not sign any bill that does not let rates rise on the wealthiest—meaning that, unless Republicans cave, all Americans who pay income taxes will be paying more to Uncle Sam come Jan. 1. The White House says the price tag for a typical family could be about $2,200 (thus "My2K").
The family poised to welcome the president had shared what that would mean for them using the hashtag. The White House says more than 100,000 family stories have been shared on its website, while 260,000 more have done so using the hashtag on Twitter. (It is, however, impossible to gauge how many were supportive of the president's position.)
The tax battle is just one aspect of the so-called fiscal cliff, a package of automatic tax increases and government spending cuts that some experts warn could plunge the economy into a new recession. Obama and Republican House Speaker John Boehner discussed the situation by telephone on Wednesday, but aides kept mum on the details.