Obama Calls for Taxes on Rich to Fund ‘Investments’ for Middle Class
(BOCA RATON, Fla.) -- Against a backdrop of electrified young voters in a state critical to his re-election, President Obama on Tuesday delivered a politically-charged argument for higher taxes on the wealthy in a push to galvanize his support among the middle class.
In speech billed as a policy address at Florida Atlantic University, Obama doubled down on his economic case for a second term, which he said favors enhanced spending on social programs to benefit the middle-income Americans in sharp contrast with Republicans’ proposals to spur growth through upper-income tax cuts alone.
“Investments in things like education and research and health care, they haven't been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another,” Obama told a crowd inside a packed gymnasium. “This is not some socialist dream.”
“They have been made by Democrats and Republicans for generations because they benefit all of us," he said, "and they lead to strong and durable economic growth."
Obama compared Republicans’ budget plans to a “science experiment” that was tried and failed during the eight years before he took office.
“Some people who pedal these trickle-down theories including some members of Congress and some running for this office who shall go unnamed,” Obama said, alluding to Republican rival Mitt Romney.
“They have doubled down,” he said.
The president also took Republicans to task – without naming names – for backing steep spending cuts to reduce the deficit while not specifying the specifics.
“They should show us specifically where they’d make those cuts,” Obama said. “So show me.”
“They'll say, well, we've got to make these -- all these drastic cuts because our deficit is too high,” he added. “Our deficit is too high. And their argument might actually have a shred of credibility to it if you didn't find out that they wanted to spend $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates.”
Obama said his proposed Buffett Rule -- to ensure that millionaires and billionaires pay a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent on their income -- could underwrite "investments" he wants to make, netting an average $150,000 in new revenue per millionaire or billionaire.
Legislative versions of the Buffett Rule are expected to come up for a vote in the next few weeks.
“I want you to call your member of Congress, I want you to write them an email, I want you to tweet them,” Obama said. “Remind them who they work for. Tell them to do the right thing.”
The measure is not expected to pass the House or the Senate.
Republicans say Obama’s campaign around the rule – holding at least 20 events to discuss it instead of focusing on job creation or deficit reduction plans -- is purely political class warfare.
“The fact is that President Obama has no plan to fix the economy, except to raise taxes on Americans with gimmicks like the Buffett Tax,” said Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.
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