In Reno, Obama makes case against extending Bush-era tax rates

President Obama on Thursday doubled down on his opposition to extending the Bush-era tax rates for the wealthy, a key part of his plan to reduce the deficit.

Obama spoke at a town hall forum in Reno, Nev., the third such event he is holding during his West Coast swing following the launch of his reelection campaign.

{mosads}”We also have to end the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And it’s not because we want to punish success,” he said. “It’s because if we’re going to ask everyone to sacrifice a little, we can’t just tell millionaires and billionaires that they don’t have to do a thing.” 

His comments came on the same day that a Republican member of the bipartisan Gang of Six budget talks said that GOP members of the group will refuse significant tax hikes.

Sen. Tom Coburn’s (Okla.) remarks suggested that the group of senators will not recommend getting rid of the tax cuts for individuals making above $200,000 and families earning more than $250,000. 

Due to the bipartisan makeup of the group, many looked to the Gang of Six as of one of the best hopes to forge a deficit-reduction plan that could pass the GOP House and Democratic Senate.

Obama gave a speech last week laying out a plan to reduce $4 trillion over 12 years. He expanded on his argument against the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in Reno, arguing they will blow a hole in the federal budget deficit and make it harder to fund critical education and healthcare programs.

“That’s not a good option from my perspective. That’s not a tradeoff I’m willing to make. And I don’t believe that’s a tradeoff most Americans are willing to make — no matter what party you belong to,” he said. “That’s not who we are as a country. We’re better than that.”

The president also took a swipe at some GOP governors who have publicly criticized him on spending while accepting federal dollars to help balance their state budgets.

“It is funny, sometimes you’re watching TV saying, ‘you know that’s funny. That guy took that check and used it to balance his budget,'” Obama said of his gubernatorial budget critics. “That’s not on the level sometimes.”

— This post was updated at 3:53 p.m.

Tags Tom Coburn

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