Politics

Obama uses Twitter to demand tax increase

Neil Munro
White House Correspondent

President Barack Obama on Monday used Twitter to insist GOP lawmakers end their decades-long ideological stand against higher tax rates.

“We can reduce deficit in balanced way by ending tax cuts for top 2% + reforms that strengthen safety net & invest in future,” he tweeted at the start of his 2. p.m. EST question-and-answer session on the social-media site.

Obama also exploited widespread middle-class anxiety over the economy to bolster his push for higher taxes.

“If top rates don’t go up, danger that middle class deductions get hit,” he answered a tweeted question at 2:49 p.m.

The president disavowed any cuts to the fast-growing federal budget, even though a third of the budget is funded by trillion-dollar deficits. Those deficits have helped boosted the federal debt by $5 trillion during his tenure.

“Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D, edu that help growth & jobs, or hurt vulnerable (eg disabled),” he said. (RELATED VIDEO: Krauthammer tells GOP to ‘walk away’ from Obama’s fiscal-cliff proposal)

Obama’s broad-shouldered push for a GOP ideological concession on tax increases is entwined in the furious arguments concerning the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

During a series of budget deals in 2010 and 2011, Democrats and Republicans agreed to delay a series of scheduled economy-damaging tax-increases and spending cuts until Jan. 1, after the 2012 election.

Unless they’re halted, those scheduled spending cuts and tax increases will drain $500 billion from the economy during the next 12 months, partly by raising taxes on middle-class families by roughly $2,000 per year.

That middle-class tax increase is caused by the planned expiration of former President George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, which Obama extended in 2010.

To head off this spending problem, House Republicans have agreed to remove many tax breaks used by wealthy Americans in exchange for cuts to Democratic-favored spending programs.