September 7th, 2010
10:03 AM ET
4 years ago

Orszag Breaks With Obama on Bush Tax Cuts

 President Obama’s former budget director, Peter Orszag, wrote Tuesday that the Bush tax cuts should be extended for two years.
President Obama’s former budget director, Peter Orszag, wrote Tuesday that the Bush tax cuts should be extended for two years.

(CNN) - Former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag is breaking with President Obama on the controversial election-year issue of whether the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be scrapped, declaring in a New York Times op-ed that failing to extend the tax cuts for the rich would "make an already stagnating jobs market worse over the next year or two."

To be sure, the crux of Orszag's argument is not complete music to the ears of Republicans because he's proposing a compromise by which all of the Bush tax cuts are extended for two years but then will be ended altogether, something the GOP does not want to endorse.

CNNMoney.com: Orszag: Extend Bush tax cuts for 2 years

But the more sensational part of Orszag's first column for the New York Times is that he is urging the president he worked for just a month ago to sign on to allow the tax cuts for the wealthy to continue in the short-term, borrowing a line of reasoning Republicans are using on the campaign trail.

"Higher taxes now would crimp consumer spending, further depressing the already inadequate demand for what firms are capable of producing at full tilt," Orszag writes in the new occasional column he will write for the New York Times. "And since financial markets don't seem at the moment to view the budget deficit as a problem - take a look at the remarkably low 10-year Treasury bond yield - there is little reason not to extend the tax cuts temporarily."

White House aides were quick to make clear that Orzsag's advice will not change the president's view that the tax cuts for the rich need to expire at the end of the year in the name of fiscal discipline.

"The president has been clear about his support for extending tax cuts for the middle class and about ending the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, which would cost $700 billion over ten years to extend at a time when we are dealing with a fiscal crisis and the independent (Congressional Budget Office) has listed as the least effective form of growing the economy," White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage told CNN.


Filed under: Economy • issues • Peter Orszag • President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. AK Steve

    Here is the difference between giving tax cuts to the rich and tax cuts to the middle class.

    The rich will spend their tax cuts on diamonds, yatchs and cars.

    The middle class will spend their tax cuts on feeding their children, fixing their cars and buying a new pair of shoes.

    Sorry, but the rich get enough tax cuts, they make a lot of money off the American people, and contrary to popular myth, they have yet to use their tax cuts to hire more people.

    So, give ME and the MAJORITY of Americans tax cuts... but really that top 2%... sorry to sound heartless, but who cares!

    September 7, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. vs

    The President has a difficult job in trying to rein in his own party. Democrats are their own worst enemy. If Mr. Orzag disagreed with his policy, why didn't he have the courtesy of advising the President. Doesn't he know that such actions will only serve to undermine Obama's stance. Why is this person part of the team? I get the feeling that the President is a pawn in the maschinations of those who control finance, media and govt. contracts. They play on both sides of the isle to maintain control, and will hamstring anyone who becomes an obstacle in their quest to maintain control.

    September 7, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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