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Posted by on Dec 10, 2012 in Economy, Politics | 25 comments

Obama Uses Campaign Apparatus to Press Congress for Higher Taxes on Rich

There had been some doubt among many whether — despite their assures they would not — Team Obama was going to make the same mistake it made after the 2008 elections and not use its impressive campaign apparatus linked up via email with millions of supporters to clamor and fight for Obama’s positions.

Now there is no doubt they won’t make the same mistake: Stephanie Cutter, Deputy Campaign Manager of Obama for America, has just sent out this email, which we’ll run in full:

Friend —

Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days? A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that’s who.

Cutting taxes for the middle class shouldn’t be difficult, especially when Republicans claim they agree with the President on the issue. But some Republicans are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

Here’s what’s going on right now: President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year. The Senate has passed that bill, and the President is ready to sign it — but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. House Democrats have filed a petition that would force a vote if it attracts 218 signatures.

If a bill has enough votes to pass, Congress should vote on it and pass it. It’s a pretty simple proposition. And every Member of Congress who hasn’t signed on to keep taxes low for the middle class needs to hear from you.

Your representative in Congress, Susan A. Davis, has already done their part to help bring the bill to the floor. But there are dozens more who still need to step up and do the right thing.

Use the call tool today to reach out to fellow Obama supporters and make sure they contact their Republican representative.

Let’s get one thing straight: If your taxes go up, Republicans will have made a conscious choice to let that happen. They’ll have missed the opportunity to prevent it, just to cut taxes for the wealthy.

Republicans need to stop using the middle class as a bargaining chip. If they fail to act, a typical middle-class family of four will see a $2,200 tax hike starting in a few short weeks. Middle-class families could face some tough financial decisions simply because Republicans didn’t want to ask the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to pay their fair share.

That’s not what President Obama and you campaigned on, and that’s not what millions of Americans voted for just one month ago.

We know we can affect change in Washington when we raise our voices together. So pick up the phone and make a few calls. Republicans in the House need to hear from their constituents. You can help:



Stephanie Cutter
Deputy Campaign Manager
Obama for America

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • dduck

    Who is paying for this “campaign” mail? I hope it isn’t the taxpayer’s bucks as it is for Obama’s excursion to Michigan today and the like.
    Did he take a Greyhound bus to the Daimler plant, or was it Air Force One, you guess, and try and calculate the cost of the trip.
    How does one know it was a campaign trip? Well, You just have to listen to his blue collar version of English when he demagogues. Gone is his Harvard professor eloquence and it goes to “I’m ALL Right Jack”. Just sayin.

  • zephyr

    Good to see the prez is taking this fight seriously. He needs leave the gloves OFF. All those Mr. Nice Guy antics in the first term were wasted on a House that had no intention of doing anything useful whatsoever. You reap what you sow and the GOP/TP has sowed nothing but rotten seed. Time to pay.

  • zusa1

    a slight correction:

    “want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires and families with a household income of more than 250k (that’s just like a billionaire, right?)”

  • zusa1

    “Why President Obama’s Tax Hike Will Hurt the 98%”

    “Let’s start with the ruse that the truly rich (as opposed to those who may make more than $250,000 in a single year of their life) will pay a lot more. These individuals have many ways to avoid the now higher tax rates. The perfect case in point is Costco co-founder, director and former CEO Jim Sinegal. In a prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention, Mr. Sinegal explained why he supported President Obama:

    ‘Business needs a president…. See, in order for companies like Costco to invest, grow, hire and flourish, the conditions have to be right. That requires something from all of us.’

    Well, apparently all of us except Mr. Sinegal and his truly wealthy fellow Costco Board Members, who include such advocates for higher taxes as William Gates Sr. and Charles Munger.

    Last Wednesday, Costco announced that it would borrow $3.5 billion so that it could pay a special dividend of $7 a share before the end of the year. Call it a six-year advance on the company’s current annual dividend of $1.10 per share. According to The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Sinegal owns two million shares, and will collect $14 million which will be taxed at the current 15% rate instead of the 43.4% rate called for by the President he supports. By paying out the dividend before year end, Mr. Sinegal alone will avoid paying $4 million in taxes to support all that he favored in his Convention speech: government funded education, innovation and research, affordable energy, safe and efficient transportation system, and, of course, paying down the government’s debt.

    Talk is cheap. Paying taxes is expensive and worth avoiding — even by those who believe in government and “taxing the rich”.”

  • Jim Satterfield

    zusai links to an article by a blogger on Forbes. Sorry, but this guy, IMO, has all the credibility of a Fox talk show host. Why? Well, first he uses this as his motto, or whatever you want to call his self-description on his column: “I cover economic/political issues with liberty as my polar star.”. Sorry, but the louder a modern conservative pushes his belief in “liberty” the more I think of him as someone as knowledgeable of economics as a Paulbot.

    Then there’s this little partisan political bit of hype.

    “Tax the rich” may be a great slogan. But the consequences of the President’s economic policies will fall most heavily on those with modest incomes who will suffer the loss of jobs and promotions due to the shrinking opportunities for mutually beneficial exchanges.

    Show me anyone who claims that anyone is using “Tax the rich” as a slogan and I’ll show you someone who specializes not in really looking at economics but shrilly attacking anyone not of the Grover Norquist School of Economics. You know, the kind of folks who would run around like Chicken Little if the wealthy were being soaked by a tax increase of 0.025%. So I’d say that he has a credibility approaching zero.

  • zusa1

    You may prefer this one:

    “Taxing the wealthy
    Diving into the rich pool
    Imposing higher tax rates on the wealthy can have unintended consequences”

    “Higher rates on the rich are not, then, a free lunch. At low levels rate increases will lift revenue, but not without a cost in efficiency and short-term growth. If the budget is a government’s primary concern, then the evidence is that reforms which close loopholes and broaden the tax base are a more efficient way to bring in more money than higher taxes for the rich.”

    Just because Boehner looks like an Oompa Loompa, doesn’t mean he doesn’t regurgitate that’s true once in a while.

    Regarding Costco’s dividend

    “Costco’s Dividend Tax Epiphany
    Obama’s fans in the 1% vote to beat Obama’s tax increase.”

  • zusa1

    sorry…missed this correction above:
    something that’s true

  • zephyr

    Paying taxes is patriotic and is the price of a civilized society. Those who can afford to do it the most easily, the most painlessly, yet who complain about it the most must be stunted when it comes to imagining a purpose greater than themselves. Americans throughout most of the 20th century realized this and actually believe that fairness and unity were important standards to have in this great country. Tax rates were much higher when Reagan was prez than they are now,and much higher yet when the middle class was strong and healthy, but there was less whining and moaning by the me, me, me crowd. Let’s hope the cult of Norquist is finally winding down.

  • zusa1

    People will act in their own best interest.

  • zephyr

    Sure, and that’s fine to a point. For many though, this means the standard that trumps all others will be the accumulation of personal wealth and power without limit or responsibility. When that standard becomes institutionalized and politicized the problem becomes systemic – which is where we are now. To me this denotes a failure of not only humanity but imagination as well – personally and nationally. Just in case that isn’t clear enough, I don’t view those failures as virtues.

  • zusa1

    Zephyr, I only mean that tax policy needs to be developed with this in mind.

  • We really need to stop arguing over this and appreciate a simple fact. A few weeks ago there was an election. One candidate, Romney, argued for raising revenue by closing loopholes and capping deductions. The other candidate, Obama, argued for raising revenue by allowing tax breaks for the top 2% of earners to lapse.

    Guess who won. Guess which party gained seats in the Senate against all odds. Guess which party added seats in the House in spite of gerrymandering. To those who don’t like the results, sorry! But:

    The time for arguing which is the best policy is over. That decision has been made … by the people. We no longer need to hear about the negative consequences of eliminating or capping charitible giving deductions or the job destroying impacts of raising rates on the “job creators”. Closing arguments have been made. The jury has rendered its verdict. It’s over. Get over it. It is what it is. Move on.

  • dduck

    tidbits, I think you will find that this was not a one issue referendum, but a presidential election which sometimes boils down to a beauty contest. Exit polls do not say that everyone wants only higher taxes on the “wealthy”. $250,000 per married couple is not so rich in some parts of the country and some people (including the “rich”)take greater advantage of tax deductible items and avail themselves of tax avoidance and deferral strategies that the “poor” don’t, or can’t, use. Zusa1 gives a good example, above, and yes most people will act in their own best interest.
    Just sayin.

  • Jim Satterfield

    What I find interesting about many of the studies cited in the articles that zusai links to is that not one of them, when examining historical trends in how taxation of the wealthy affects the larger economy asks the question of whether or not the modern trends of sending jobs overseas to cheap labor markets (and places where you can pollute to your heart’s content) and using automation to eliminate jobs changes the dynamic they are examining.

  • Duck,

    I take your point about the election, but there is more to it. Recent polls also show that folks want taxes raised on the wealthiest 2% (what Obama campaigned on) by a margin of 60 to 38%. That in combination with the election is quite telling. My view.

    Between the election and the polls, I just don’t see how the R’s have much going for their argument on this point. Even some R’s in Congress (Corker, e.g.) are advising to concede this part and focus on ways to address spending instead.

  • dduck

    tidbits, I am also for higher taxes on those, say with $1 million, but not as a this solves the bigger problem. They have made too big a deal out of this and of course most people want “the rich to pay their fair share” (a very effective, but defective campaign slogan that appeals to too many), a very useful smoke screen when what is really needed is all of the above with tax reform.
    Both sides have staked out silly positions publicly and campaign calcified when what is needed is a smoke filled room approach, sans smoke and Twinkies, with pain on both sides. Where are the old fashioned negotiators?
    BTW: I believe the actual exit polls showed about half favored higher taxes.

  • Duck,

    Don’t know much about exit polling results. The poll referred to above (60 to 38% favoring Obama’s position) was the Politico/George Washington University poll that was released yesterday. I don’t necessarily disagree with your position; I’m just saying that the train has left the station on the tax side of the budget debate.

  • zusa1

    Tidbits, it doesn’t surprise me that people want other people to pay.

    This is from the WSJ article:

    To sum up: Here we have people at the very top of the top 1% who preach about tax fairness voting to write themselves a huge dividend check to avoid the Obama tax increase they claim it is a public service to impose on middle-class Americans who work for 30 years and finally make $250,000 for a brief window in time.

    This $250 is household income. This is not “rich”. This is end of career middle class.

  • z,

    No argument here on the merits of what you say. It’s just that the jury is in, and the verdict went the other way. There is still some talk of moving the goalposts from $250k to $400k. We’ll see.

    As for the Costco execs: hypocrisy is an equal opportunity affliction. I hate to even try to count how many times I have suffered from this malady myself.

  • dduck

    tidbits, how can the train be out of the station if they are still considering going to 37.6% and to 400K.
    “It’s alive” as Dr. Frankenstein once exclaimed.
    Screw the election, the Reps lost, move on.

  • zephyr

    Let’s get back to the real world for a moment. 250K as yearly income is a LOT of clams. If the goalposts are going to be moved think about the other direction. And spare me the tears.

  • dduck

    Z, the point is both sides have to give to make a deal, or would going over the cliff be better?

  • SteveK

    Tidbits – Thank you for your comments… A balanced conservative opinion is appreciated by all.

    Happy holidays, I hope you’re enjoying the rain. We got almost 4 inches… All year, but it’s a dry heat. 🙂

  • Thanks, Steve. You’re a trouble maker, but I love you. Among my regrets is that you never joined TMV blogger Marc Pascal and I for one of our four hour lunches when I was living in the sun.

    The rain here results in soggy brain cells which explains the legalization of mj in WA and much about the People’s Republic of Portland. I really need to pack up my golf clubs & get back to the desert southwest for a respite.

    Happy Holidays.

  • SteveK

    Tidbits – Let me know when you’re down next time… Lunch with you and Marc would be treat and well worth the drive to Scottsdale. FWIW: My clubs live in the trunk.

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