Obama asks Congress for $467-billion tax increase to fund jobs plan

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The Obama administration is asking Congress to raise taxes by $467 billion over 10 years to pay for the President’s one-year $447 billion stimulus, which he announced during a speech Thursday before a joint session of Congress.

The president is pushing his jobs and growth package amid declining polls and zero job growth in August. The plan is intended to take effect several months after the 2012 election.

During a Rose Garden press event Monday, Obama pitched his plan by playing up job losses and the stalled economy, ditching his previous claims that economic growth had returned. “If Congress does not act, just about every family will pay more taxes next year. That would be a self-inflicted wound that our economy can’t afford right now, Obama said. (RELATED: Is Obama’s jobs plan really bipartisan?)

The changed campaign-trail rhetoric is part of Obama’s efforts to blame Congress, and the GOP specifically, for hindering economic growth. “If you want Congress to take action, I’m going to need everybody here … to make sure their voices are heard” by legislators.

Obama did not mention the $447 billion price tag for the one-year stimulus he outlined in his Rose Garden appearance.

White House budget chief Jack Lew said at a midday press conference that the 10-year tax bite would include $3 billion from the corporate jet sector, $40 billion from the oil and gas sector and $18 billion from Wall Street’s investment-fund managers, starting in 2013.

The majority of the tax increase comes from $400 billion generated by curbing tax exemptions available to families earning more than $250,000 per year, and to individuals earning more than $200,000 per year, he said.

The White House will send Obama’s tax proposal to Congress today, Lew said.

Next week the president will also submit a list of deficit-cutting proposals to the congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Lew said. The committee was established by the August debt-ceiling deal, and is expected to cut $1.5 trillion from planned deficit spending of more than $7 trillion over the next 10 years. The White House’s proposal will “overachieve” the $1.5 trillion goal, and will not include the tax-raising proposals introduced today, said Lew.

The tax increase will not harm the economy in the short term, White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted today. “It will not harm job creation, “ he told reporters.

Lew said the tax increases, which he dubbed “pay-fors,” would not come into force until 2013. That’s several months after the 2012 presidential election.

Asked why the administration believes anti-tax GOP legislators will endorse a plan to increase Americans’ taxes, Lew said the package is “a balanced approach to shared sacrifice.”

“The president is asking Congress to make choices … because we don’t have the capacity to pay for everything,” Carney added.

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