President Obama stands firm on plans to repeal tax cuts for wealthy Americans.
Drawing sharp distinction between his Democrats and their Republican opponents, President Obama Wednesday vowed to let income tax cuts on the richest Americans expire.
In the election year fight over taxes, President Obama needs voters to know whose taxes Democrats would hike and whose he would cut.
"We are ready, this week if they want, to give tax cuts to every American making $250,000 or less," he told a cheering crowd at a stop in Cleveland, Ohio.
Of all the income tax filings last year, only 3% were for those making more than $200,000.
"For any income over this amount, the tax rates would go back to what they were under President Clinton," Mr. Obama explained.
Most small businesses pay individual rates.
They say a tax hike would cost jobs.
"The businesses that Washington are asking to make investments and hire new workers are the same businesses that they're potentially going to tax," claims Bill Rys of the National Federation of Independent Business.
The president says his proposals will offer more help for small business: $200 billion in business tax write offs, $50 billion in new infrastructure spending and $100 billion for a research & development tax credit.
"I don't think the American people want any more stimulus spending coming out of Washington," said House Minority Leader John Boehner in response. "This is another short term spending measure."
The president went after the Republican by name.
"Let me be clear to Mr. Boehner and everyone else: We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer," he said.
Republican tax cuts for millionaires, said Mr. Obama, are part of what led to the mess we're in.
Democrats are claiming we'll have to borrow $700 billion more if the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy aren't allowed to expire.