Obama loses backing on taxes

By Stephen Ohlemacher-Associated Press

Defying President Obama, Congress seems increasingly reluctant to let taxes go up, even on wealthier Americans.

Worried about the fragile economy and their own upcoming elections, a growing number of Democratic lawmakers are joining the rock-solid Republican opposition to Mr. Obama’s plans to let some of the tax cuts passed under President George W. Bush expire as scheduled at the end of the year.

Democratic leaders in Congress still back Mr. Obama, but the willingness to raise taxes is waning among the rank and file as the stagnant economy threatens the party’s majority in the House and Senate.

“In my view, this is no time to do anything that could be jarring to a fragile recovery,” said Rep. Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia, a first-term Democrat.

The most sweeping tax cuts in a generation are due to expire in January, and that’s setting up a showdown when lawmakers return from their summer vacations this month. By waiting to act on the tax cuts until just before congressional elections in November, Democratic leaders have raised the stakes, politically and for taxpayers.

If Congress fails to act – a possibility given the gridlock that has gripped the Senate – workers at every income level would face significant tax increases next year.

Taxpayers making between $40,000 and $50,000 a year would get hit with an average income tax increase of $923 next year. Those making between $50,000 and $75,000 would face an average increase of $1,126, according to estimates by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation.

Mr. Obama wants to make the tax cuts permanent for middle- and low-income families while allowing them to expire for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Christina Romer, who is resigning as head of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers on Friday, argued this week that tax cuts for lower-income filers provide far more stimulus to the sagging economy that similar cuts for the wealthier.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/sep/2/obama-loses-backing-on-taxes/

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