Las Vegas Sun

May 5, 2015

Currently: 67° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account


Obama working to garner public support for his approach to ‘fiscal cliff’

As Congress settles in for a long winter’s fight over how to avoid the "fiscal cliff," President Barack Obama is trying to foment a popular movement to press lawmakers to resolve the issue — preferably his way.

The White House launched a campaign Wednesday aimed at framing the fiscal cliff standoff as a fight to extend tax cuts for the middle class, who they say will lose about $2,000 to increased taxes if Congress doesn’t strike a deal.

Obama urged citizens to “call your members of Congress, write them an email, post it on their Facebook walls” and tweet about middle-class tax cuts using the hashtag “#My2k.”

In Nevada, it’s actually a little more than $2,000, according to figures the White House released Wednesday. The White House estimates that a family earning $65,200 — approximately the state’s median household income — will end up paying $2,200 more in taxes if rates are allowed to rise back to where they were in the 1990s.

The White House estimates that would crunch Nevada’s economy by about 1.5 percent and that Nevadans could end up spending about $1.8 billion less in 2013 than they would if the tax rates for income levels below $250,000 remain where they are.

But the White House’s new campaign, even with a newly dedicated hashtag, is a new spin on an old fight. Republicans and Democrats have been at odds for years over how to extend the tax cuts that were put in place in 2001 and 2003. Republicans want to see tax cuts extended at all levels. Democrats would rather see tax rates on income levels above $250,000 rise. Obama said this month he was prepared to veto any bill that didn’t raise the tax burden on the rich.

Resolving the tax issue is a crucial component of staving off the fiscal cliff, the end-of-year juncture at which rising tax rates and scheduled budget cuts are expected to cause the economy to shrink, should they go into effect unmitigated.

While no action means that tax rates will rise across the board, extending some portion of the cuts is not the only way to resolve the standoff. Congress has been talking for a long time about doing a tax overhaul, and in the waning weeks of the campaign season, both the Republican and Democratic candidates for president indicated a willingness to discuss capping tax deductions as a way of raising the effective tax rate on the wealthy.

But none of those solutions are as simple, or as speedy, as tax cut extensions — and lawmakers have less than five weeks to figure it out.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 5 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. As I've said elsewhere, curtail the waste in various programs and eliminate the "loopholes" in the tax code. Then, and only then, can a serious discussion be had and tax rates and program cuts.

    And I agree with RefNV, now is not the time for campaigning. Now is the time to take charge and work with all leaders in Congress to put in place a real solution.

    President Obama, the people have elected their representatives to Congress. it is up to *you* to persuade Congress to agree with your proposals. Do not try to pass the buck back to the people, we have already spoken. You asked for the job, and got it. Now do it!

  2. Great job President Obama. You have learned from your mistakes during your first term not keeping the American people informed of your proposals. The American people gave you the Bully Pulpit, USE IT!

    Make sure the American people know there is a bill passed in the Senate extending Bush's tax cuts to 98% of Americans. The house refuses to even take a vote on it fearing they will lose their leverage to take care of the top 2%.

    The majority in every poll I've seen expects no solution and we go over the so-called, over-hyped, fiscal cliff. It will be a minor setback in the economy, but the long term positives outweigh the short term negatives.

    Go over the cliff and work on solutions with the 113th Congress which booted many of the most extreme from the Grand Obstructionists Party.

  3. Cracks in Grover Norquist's empire are expanding every day. A bunch of Tea/Republican Senators have already stepped forward to extend the tax cuts for everyone except the upper two percent. And, surprisingly enough, so far three Congressmen from the House of Representatives have stepped forward. Need more to come forward though.

    I think it's hilarious that the ultra-conservatives are madly scrambling and pointing fingers everywhere. Except at the truth.

    The glaring truth is that the Tea/Republicans with their bag of tricks which includes intransigence, automatic triggers, kicking the can down the road, blocking, saying no and basically trying to avoid anything to deal with this issue....has led us to where we're at right now.

    But still they blame everyone else.

    Red rover, red rover, it's over with, Grover. No more of the Bush policies. The American people are tired of silly games and spinning wheels all the time. We want action.

    No matter what happens, those horrible Former President George W. Bush Jr. Tax Cuts For The Rich are coming to an end on January 1, 2013.

  4. Maybe if Obama followed the law (yea, right) and did his job, this would clear up. Show us a Annual Budget. That would show us how much you are blowing on pork projects and welfare scams.

    Than we could also see where we can cut fat and trim expenses. All expenses...

    Stop the class warfare like you said you wanted to do (yea, its his trademark) work together to find a solution. Not just "My Way is the only way"

  5. Still no leadership, no bi-partisan proposal that could be accepted by moderates. So, let's hope they let the payroll tax holiday expire. As they keep avoiding income taxes and spending cuts at least allow SS and Medicare funding continue.