President Barack Obama doubled down on his economic case for a second term, which he explained favors boosting social programs that benefit the middle-income Americans in sharp contrast with Republicans’ past and future proposals to spur growth with upper-income tax cuts.
“I’m saying, you’re bringing in a million bucks or more a year. Then, what the rule says is you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. You shouldn’t get special tax breaks. You shouldn’t be able to get special loopholes,” he said. “And if we do that, then it makes it affordable for us to be able to say for those people who make under $250,000 a year — like 98 percent of American families do — then your taxes don’t go up.”
According to Politico, the Senate is set to vote next week on in change in tax laws that would set a 30 percent minimum income tax for Americans earning more than $1 million annually, known as the “Buffett Rule,” which will be at odds with a House budget plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) “that cuts taxes on many Americans, with a particular emphasis on the rich.” The White House released a new copy of a report on the Buffet rule Tuesday, which is described as a “basic principal of tax fairness.”
Though Obama didn’t name names in his Florida speech, the 2001 and 2003 tax breaks for high-incomes to which he referred are usually collectively referred to as the “Bush tax cuts” — a term which the former president dislikes (Bloomberg).
With Rick Santorum officially pulling out of the race for the Republican nomination Tuesday, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney is expected to shift his campaign into a new gear (WashPost).
“Romney has long attempted to paint Obama as a failed president whose policies have slowed the economic recovery while enlarging the government and building up deficits and debt,” writes Dan Balz in the Washington Post. “Obama, in turn, has criticized Romney as a proponent of the policies that drove the nation into the deep recession and as a politician who would protect the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class.”
Romney will have to rally the Grand Old Party around him and take on President Barack Obama on the economy, voters’ number one issue (Reuters).
Voter economic confidence has taken a dip the last two weeks, heading back down to January and February levels, according to Gallup, though the index is still ten points above where it was a year ago.
“Over the past couple of weeks, Americans’ perceptions of the U.S. economy seem to have changed,” Gallup says, possibly because consumers are giving greater importance to increasing gas prices, a hot topic on the campaign trail. Gallup also says changes in perception could be spurred by doubts being cast on recent improvements by economic observers like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke or the disappointing March unemployment report.
– Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor