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Obama to appeal to public on fiscal cliff

By Ken Thomas

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 10:25 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2012

WASHINGTON » President Barack Obama plans to make a public case this week for his strategy for dealing with the looming fiscal cliff, traveling to the Philadelphia suburbs Friday as he pressures Republicans to allow tax increases on the wealthy while extending tax cuts for families earning $250,000 or less.

The White House said today that the president intends to hold a series of events aimed at building support for his approach to avoid across-the-board tax increases and steep spending cuts in defense and domestic programs. Obama will meet with small business owners at the White House today and with middle-class families on Wednesday.

Obama's strategy is two-fold: Negotiate behind closed doors with Republicans while taking his agenda outside the Beltway only weeks after winning re-election. The president's visit to a small business in Hatfield, Pa., that makes parts for a construction toy company will cap a week of public outreach as the White House and congressional leaders seek a way to avoid the tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1.

Obama's tactics were quickly panned by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who said today that "rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he's back out on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we're all familiar with."

"If the president wants a solution to the challenges of the moment, the people he needs to be talking to are the members of his own party, so he can convince them of the need to act," McConnell, R-Ky., said.

Both sides warn the so-called fiscal cliff could harm the nation's economic recovery, but an agreement still appears far from assured. The White House and congressional Republicans have differed on whether to raise revenue through higher tax rates or by closing tax loopholes and deductions.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has pushed for raising additional revenue through the reducing of tax loopholes instead of raising tax rates on wealthy Americans and Republicans have said Democrats need to come up with cuts in entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

The White House has countered that the president will not sign legislation that extends current tax rates for the top 2 percent of income earners, or those households with incomes over $250,000. White House officials have expressed a willingness to discuss changes to Medicare and Medicaid but oppose addressing Social Security as part of the fiscal cliff discussions.

Obama has signaled his intention to rally the public to pressure Congress to support his agenda, an approach that helped him win passage of a payroll tax cut extension and prevented interest rates on millions of federal student loans from doubling last summer.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in an email to supporters after the election that the president's volunteer base was crucial to his re-election but said they had "more progress to make, and there's only one way to do it: together."

Following the election, Obama aides asked supporters to record YouTube videos discussing the need to have the wealthiest Americans pay more in taxes. Some of the people who shared their stories on YouTube planned to join Obama at the White House on Wednesday.

The lame-duck session has created a new lobbying campaign on Capitol Hill, with business and labor groups vying for an advantage in debate over taxes and spending.

Business leaders have created a group called The Campaign to Fix the Debt, which has promoted a long-term plan to fix the nation's debt and deficits. Unions and liberal groups are trying to mobilize Obama's supporters through a website called theaction.org, which aims to end the Bush tax cuts "for the richest two percent." The website encourages supporters to use social media to promote Obama's agenda.

House Republicans planned to hold events in the coming weeks with small businesses in their districts to emphasize the effect that tax increases could have on small business and their employees.

On Friday, Obama will tour and deliver remarks at The Rodon Group manufacturing facility in Hatfield, Pa., offering the company up as an example of a business that depends on middle-class consumers during the holiday season. The company manufactures parts for K'NEX Brands, a construction toy company whose products include Tinkertoy, K'NEX Building Sets and Angry Birds Building Sets.

Congressional Republicans, led by Boehner, have expressed openness to discussing additional revenue but oppose any plan that raises tax rates on the wealthy. They argue that the higher rates would also hurt some small businesses and hinder economic growth.

Republicans have called for changes to the tax code to eliminate tax breaks and loopholes that primarily benefit the wealthy. Several key Republican lawmakers have also said they would not be bound by a no-tax-increase pledge that they have adhered to in the past.

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LanaUlulani wrote:
In other words Dictator Obama will try to play the Good Guy in the Good Guy versus Bad Guy Dichotomy when he ALREADY plans to increase taxes for working class people.

You can see Obama's tax hikes for PERSONAL income taxes on PAGE 8 of 44 in HIS Budget for Fiscal Year 2013:

2011: $1,091,000,000
2012: $1,165,000,000
2013: $1,359,000,000
2014: $1,476,000,000
2015: $1,617,000,000
2016: $1,763,000,000


That is, Dictator Obama ALREADY plans to INCREASE TAXES. He is disingenous. Furthermore this is problematic for Hawaiians AND non-Hawaiians. This MONEY in the form of taxes should NOT go to any American government. It should go directly to the keiki and mo'opuna instead!!!

on November 27,2012 | 09:45AM
Anonymous wrote:
all USA citizens should help with the deficit. those that live off government funds should contribute in community service / beautification projects. the time for freebies is over.
on November 27,2012 | 10:53AM
serious wrote:
I have never been accused of being too smart, but why is Obama going to the states that voted for him, the food stamp states on AF One, at taxpayer $$$ for his fiscal cliff plan--those reps from those states are already D's? He should be back in WA and sitting with the leaders and working out a plan. He has never worked a budget. He never worked a business, never delivered papers or was a Cub Scout!!! Commander in Chief------
on November 27,2012 | 09:57AM
lee1957 wrote:
Good call, I don't think Romney got one vote in most Philadelphia precints. BHO is just grandstanding.
on November 27,2012 | 10:46AM
jussayin wrote:
Well, so much for seeking common ground. Seems like Obama is trying to put political pressure on the Republicans which obviously will continue the division on the hill and the people. I wish he'd save some tax dollars by not traveling for this type of thing and instead hold constructive talks within his administration and Congress family. Tired of having these adults acting like kids. Grow up, get along and make decisions that are good for our nation. That's why the people elected you guys. Geez.
on November 27,2012 | 11:09AM
Pacej001 wrote:
Still waiting for Obama's spending cut proposals. Wonder when we'll see those.
on November 27,2012 | 11:24AM
false wrote:
Go to the fiction section in any Barnes and Noble bookstore.
on November 27,2012 | 05:31PM
stanmanley wrote:
The burden is on every tax paying entity in America. From small business to large corporations and every tax paying citizen (low-medium and wealthy earners). Bottom line is, we are all in it for the next 4 years.
on November 27,2012 | 11:32AM
sumoroach wrote:
Socialist spends others people money. That is OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very one should have their taxes raised, having skin in the game will make everyone see the light of running a goverment without a budget for 4 years.
on November 27,2012 | 12:45PM
sumoroach wrote:
MAZIE FOLLOWS OBAMA THANKS HAWAII FOR VOTING HER IN THE SENATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No responsiblities about either jobs.
on November 27,2012 | 12:49PM
HD36 wrote:
I don't have kids, kick the boulder down as far as you can. As long as the world keeps loaning us money, keep spending it.
on November 27,2012 | 02:24PM
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