Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Permanent middle class tax cuts too costly

We are entering mid-term elections and thus everything is becoming a “political issue.” Not outside of the norm, tax cuts have become a primary focus. Tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush are scheduled to expire at the end of the year, affecting taxpayers at every income level. President Barack Obama proposes to permanently extend them for individuals making less than $200,000 a year and families making less than $250,000 — at a cost of about $2.5 trillion over the next decade.

Many Democrats want to extend them before the elections, so they can campaign on passing tax cuts for the middle class. But Republicans argue that many of the high earners who would face tax increases under Obama's plan are small business owners struggling to stay afloat in a tough economy.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Tuesday that tax increases will eventually be necessary to address the nation's mounting debt, and pull in revenue, raising a difficult election-year issue.

Hoyer raised the possibility that Congress will only temporarily extend middle-class tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year. He suggested that making them permanent would be too costly.

In the short term, government spending has been necessary to stimulate the economy, Hoyer said. But in the longer term, Congress will have to rein in spending and raise taxes to tackle the debt, he added.

"Raising revenue is part of the deficit solution, too," Hoyer said.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, "It's now official. Top Democrats on Capitol Hill are starting to signal their intention to raise taxes on the middle class."

Read the full Associated Press article here.

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