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“Upside-down economics”

Earlier this week, Republicans in the House voted against President Obama's proposal to extend tax cuts for middle-class Americans. This morning, President Obama spoke from the White House about what the vote—and their proposals—say about their priorities:

When families have the security of knowing that their taxes won’t go up they’re more likely to spend, and more likely to grow the economy. When small business owners have certainty on taxes and can plan ahead they’re more likely to hire and create new jobs. And that benefits all of us.

And that’s why, last week, I was pleasantly surprised—I was glad to see the Senate come together and extend tax cuts on the first $250,000 of every family’s income. That means 98% of Americans won’t see their income taxes go up next year. That means that 97% of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up next year. Not a single dime. That would be important.

And that’s why it’s so disappointing that, so far at least, House Republicans have refused to follow the Senate’s example and do the same thing. On Wednesday, they voted to hold these middle-class tax cuts hostage unless we also spend a trillion dollars over the next decade on tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. In fact, it’s a little worse than that because their plan would actually raise taxes on 25 million hardworking American families by about $1,000 each.

So, at a time when too many working families are already struggling to make ends meet, they want to give millionaires and billionaires and folks like me tax cuts that we don’t need and that the country can’t afford, even if middle-class families have to pick up the tab for it. Those are their priorities.

And this week, we learned that there's some in the Republican Party who don’t want to stop there. An independent, nonpartisan study found that one plan at least would give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, and they’d pay for those tax cuts by raising taxes on the middle class—an average tax hike of more than $2,000 for families with children.

Now, I just think we’ve got our priorities skewed if the notion is that we give tax breaks to folks who don't need them and, to help pay for that, we tax folks who are already struggling to get by. That's not how you grow an economy. You grow an economy from the middle out, and from the bottom up. And the kind of approach that the House Republicans are talking about is bad for our families, and it’s bad for our economy.

The people standing behind me should not have to pay more just so the wealthiest Americans can pay less. That’s not just top-down economics, that's upside-down economics.

Read the President's full remarks here.

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