U.S. President Barack Obama urges Congress to extend tax cuts for the middle class in the East Room at the White House in Washington, July 9, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch. | License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 14 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday Congress should enact compromise tax cut legislation and not hold "our entire economy hostage."
In his weekly radio and Internet address, the president called on the House and Senate to take action now on his proposal to extend current tax rates on the first $250,000 of all annual incomes -- while allowing rates on any income over that amount to revert to where they were before temporary tax cuts were enacted during the administration of former President George W. Bush.
"Under my plan, 97 percent of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever," he said. "In fact, I've cut taxes for small businesses 18 times since I've been President. And just this week, I ordered a series of new steps to help our small businesses grow and hire.
"The only place we disagree is whether we keep giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans," Obama said. "Republicans in Washington want more of those tax cuts. With the deficit we have, I don't think we can afford them."
The president told listeners Republicans in Congress and presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney argue "the best way to create prosperity is to let it trickle down from the top. They believe that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, it'll somehow create jobs -- even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and training and by raising middle-class taxes."
However he said "we already tried it that way for most of the last decade, and it didn't work."
"But even if we disagree on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we all agree that no American should pay more taxes on the first $250,000 of their income," Obama said. "So let's at least agree to do what we all agree on. That's what compromise is all about. Let's not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy. Let's skip the unnecessary drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing and let's just do the right thing for the people who sent us here to serve."