President Barack Obama stirred up a fight over taxes in a campaign stop today in Iowa, the state which traditionally kicks off primary voting and that launched him toward the White House four years ago. At issue, and not for the first time in Obama’s term, are tax cuts signed into law during the administration of former President George W. Bush. Those reductions in the federal assessment on income for all levels of earnings already have been extended temporarily but expire at the end of the year.
Obama contends ending the middle class cuts now, when the economy remains fragile, would be bad economic policy that would carve out higher tax payments from 98 percent of Americans. He wants, however, to take tax rates for people earning more than USD 250,000 back to levels last seen during the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s. “We tried what they’re selling,” Obama said of the tax cuts that Romney and Republicans want to leave in place for all income levels. “It didn’t work and somehow they think you don’t remember.”
Obama’s sudden return to a focus on taxes coincided with the latest round of grim news for his re-election effort: Hiring has stalled and for the second consecutive month, Romney raised more campaign funds than the president, whose campaign acknowledged it could be in trouble in the November election. Romney insist that the tax cuts should remain in effect for all income levels. They argue that increased taxes on upper incomes would decrease the incentives among small businesses to add jobs. That’s a major campaign issue with the unemployment rate stuck at 8.2 percent.
Another problem Obama faces is a fund raising shortfall. Obama’s campaign and the Democratic party raised USD 71 million in June, well below the USD 106 million hauled in by Romney and the Republican party during the same period. Obama’s campaign said in an email to supporters that June was their best fundraising month of the campaign. But they told supporters, “We still got beat. Handily.”
During fund-raising stops in Colorado today, Romney said Obama had outsourced jobs by offering government support to green energy companies that made some of their products overseas. It was the first time Romney has publicly hit back at the Obama campaign’s charges that the former private equity executive bought companies that outsourced jobs to China and elsewhere. Romney said: “If there’s an outsourcer-in-chief, it’s the president of the United States, not the guy who’s running to replace him.” Romney also said Obama’s proposal to extend tax cuts for people making USD 250,000 or less amounts to a tax increase for small businesses.
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