Barack Obama gave a speech today outlining his argument for extending the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $250,000 a year, while allowing cuts for the wealthiest Americans—"folks like myself"—to expire on Jan 1. Republicans, of course, want to keep the cuts in place for the wealthy, which Obama cast as a fundamental disagreement about how to create wealth. "We've tried it their way. It didn't work," he said.
But "that argument shouldn't threaten you," Obama said. "Let's not hold the vast majority of Americans hostage while we debate the merits of tax cuts for the wealthy." He called on Congress to pass a bill extending the cuts for everyone below the $250,000 mark, since everyone feels we should do at least that. "Let's agree to do what we agree on. That's what compromise is all about." He also noted that 97% of small businesses fell under the $250,000 threshold, preempting GOP attacks on that front—and, indeed, moments after the speech, Senate Republicans sent out a statement accusing Obama of proposing a tax hike on small businesses, Wall Street Journal reports.