November 11th, 2010
09:17 AM ET
12 years ago

Axelrod says Obama will agree to extend tax cuts for wealthy

Washington (CNN) – The White House is signaling that it is willing to negotiate on extending the Bush tax cuts, even for the wealthiest Americans, in order to deliver on its promise to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans.

In an interview with the Huffington Post on Wednesday, White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod seemed to open the door to the extension of the cuts for American households making more than $250,000 a year, citing the poltical reality that has resulted from the loss of Democratic seats in Congress in last week's midterm elections.

Extending tax cuts for the top income bracket had previously been a red line the administration refused to cross.

"We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said in the interview. "The world of what it takes to get this done."

There are concerns," he said about Congress continuing to kick the issue down the road by passing temporary extensions for wealthy Americans each time the issue emerges. "But I don't want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point."

Throughout his campaign, and the first two years of his administration, President Obama has said he wanted to keep the tax cuts passed by the Bush administration in place for income levels clocking in at less than $250,000. Extending them for the wealthiest Americans would add another $700 billion to the deficit the administration has said.

"The president has been clear that extending tax cuts for middle class families is his top priority and he is open to compromise to get that done," White House Deputy Communications Director Jen Psaki said in a written statement Thursday morning.

A spokesman for likely House Speaker John Boehner praised Axelrod's position in a statement:

"Republicans made a pledge to America to permanently stop all of the tax hikes scheduled for January 1st. We're glad to see that the President's most trusted advisor now agrees with this course of action, and hope he and the President will show leadership by convincing Speaker Pelosi to stop these tax hikes permanently in the upcoming lame duck session," said spokesman Michael Steel.

Filed under: President Obama • Taxes
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is this the price of 'compromising' with the Rethugs?
    A very high price indeed. Thank you for voting in the Obstructionists.

    November 11, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  2. lmj

    I am sick and tired of Obama compromising with the Republicans, i.e. giving them anything they want. Add more money to the debt and the payback he gets will be Repubs yelling "Obama increased the debt". He has the backbone and political acumen of tree frog!

    November 11, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. Bender

    REMEMBER JANUARY 3rd, 2007.... THE DAY THE DEMOCRATS TOOK OVER!" Bush may have been in the car, but the Democrats were in charge of the gas pedal and steering wheel they were driving. Set the record straight on Bush!

    So, as you listen to all the commercials and media from the Democrats who are now distancing themselves from their voting record and their party, remember how they didn't listen to you when you said you didn't want all the bailouts, you didn't want the health care bill, you didn't want cap and trade, you didn't want them to continue spending money we don't have.

    I'm not forgetting their complicity in getting us into this mess, and I'll be marking my vote accordingly!

    "It's not that liberals aren't smart, it's just that so much of what they know isn't so" -Ronald Reagan

    November 11, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  4. Rule

    Praise the Lord. Haha. Obama also promised an earlier end date on Afghanistan, Obamacare would save us money, more civility, Gitmo closing, unemployment not rising above 8% and a host of other whoppers. The list of blatant lies is endless.

    November 11, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  5. Santa Fean

    Golly! I wonder who rules America? Certainly not the people but the corporations who control the people!

    November 11, 2010 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    There are some things you can always count on... like democrats folding like wet paper. What is it about this party that you democrats like? I may not agree with your political stances, but I do understand why you might have them, and that's cool. But the only thing the party you support gives you is spinelessness and ineffectiveness. You're being played like a cheap fiddle.

    November 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. kari

    Wow. I like Obama but he should not cave on this.

    November 11, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Ben in Texas

    This is what progressives hate about the Democrats. They cave in to the right wingers at the first opportunity. Even before the first opportunity, sometimes. They did so on health care (single payer), they did so on Wall St. reforms. You name it, they caved in on it. Neither party knows how to negotiate, but in totally different ways. The Repugnants would rather the country go into full blown depression than to give an inch to the Democrats. The Democrats would rather totally abandon their principles (?) and the people who elected them than to have Repugnants say bad things about them.

    So in true Democratic form, Axelrod says, "Okay, we've had enough! No more arm twisting! We'll spend the billions it takes to make the Repugnants and their uber-rich buddies happy." Which will lead to more charges by Repugnants that the Dems are fiscally irresponsible, even as they pocket the money.

    What they should do is say, "There are hard choices to be made. We will let ALL the tax cuts expire." That would generate lots of money for the treasury and put the Repugs in the position of explaining why they wanted to give that money at the rich instead of using it to decrease the deficit.

    November 11, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Freedomics

    The shining city on the hill that Reagan thought he saw was actually Las Vegas. 1% of our citizens run the casino, while the other 99% gamble away our collective future. Our country used to get through tough times by shared sacrifice. Now it's every man for himself, winner takes all, spit on the rest. As a foster parent, I see on a daily basis the consequences of underfunding/eliminating social safety net programs. By refusing to fund these programs, we aren't punishing the lazy and irresponsible in our society. Instead, we are punishing babies, children, the elderly, and others who weren't given the natural tools to compete in a meritocracy. For a little light reading on the subject, check out Matthew 25: 31-46.

    November 11, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. TomInRochNY

    The tax cuts for the wealthy should NOT be extended. We can't afford them and they do very little good. If you want to turn the economy around, start figuring out how to boost demand. I'm not very confident that extending the tax cuts for the middle class will do much good either. Giving money to business owners will not make them hire anyone if no one is buying what they're making.

    November 11, 2010 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. Sgt. Joe

    And I assume there's a plan to fund this? Repubs out there, ideas? Hasn't worked so far. Obama, once again, tries to compromise w/the GOP in order to find gain any positive outcome for the middle class, yet the middle class is still pissed about his HCR compromise (no Publich Option). That's a major cause for the drop in ratings. It baffles me how the middle class can vote against their own best interest by voting GOP.

    November 11, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. Ron

    So let's add trillions of dollars more to the deficit by giving even more money to those who are already well off? I voted for you in 2008 Barack, but I will not vote for you again.

    November 11, 2010 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  13. GJ

    Of all the issues to lose spine on, this one hurts the worst. How can you compromise on an issue that is so fundamental to what the party stands for?

    November 11, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Ernie

    White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod sees the writting on the wall and has probably has told the "Failure and Chief" that if he dosen't extend the "Bush Tax Cuts" he can forget a second "Term". David Axelrod himself knows that Obama has "Failed" and he has no choice but to extedn the "Bush Tax Cuts". All the senators were not up for re-election and are up for re-election in 2012 will vote for the "Bush Tax Cuts" because if they don't they will committing "political suicide". You are now going to see demarcates not voting the party line which means Harry Reid will no longer be as powerful as he once was. The democratic senator's are now going to vote for what is "Right" not what Harry Reid wants. Watch come January everything is going to change. Now it every man for him self.

    November 11, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Right Leaning Independent

    This is good!! Rich people spend money that.............Creates Jobs!!!! Stop being jealous and haters toward the rich... Their success should not make them shoulder more of the tax burden.. The rich folks that have creative tax schemes to avoid paying taxes should be the ones that are targeted...

    November 11, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  16. Indie Woman in Denver

    I am SO pissed about this! Don't cave, Mr Prez, not when the Repubs are talking about cutting SocSec, Medicare, and Medicaid to solve tbe debt issue. This is NOT something you should give in on if you expect to be able to keep your promises to the middle class, who will soon become poor, if you don't stop giving in to Boehner & the other lobbyists.

    November 11, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. jim

    Thank-you President Bush for your leadership.

    November 11, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Dean

    Stop tax cuts for all. The government is not going to quit spending and will continue to print more money. Maybe more taxes will lower the deficit somewhat and save what is left of the dollar.

    November 11, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. ken

    If the GOP really cared about the deficit,they would end the Bush tax cutsfor the wealthly. They do not create jobs in America, eight million jobs were lost during the Bush tax cuts. These were jobs that would have kept a lot of teachers hired, and schools open.

    November 11, 2010 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Bob in Florida

    Payoffs are nothing new to Wash DC. There are a few that have to get their "due", in order to help common folk.

    November 11, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. once upon a horse

    well so much for the Dems having a backbone. And President Obama wonders why some of his supporters are upset with him. Well constant caving in to Republicans is a BIG part of the problem.

    November 11, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. Anne-Florida

    I am an Obama supporter but truly wish he had more backbone. Extending the tax cuts for 2% of the population is ridiculous when it advances the debt so much. If these tax cuts are such "job generating" conditions, now where are the jobs?

    November 11, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. NVa Native

    Tax hikes set to take effect? Repubs are a bunch of sick people preying on simple minded fools to provide tax subsidies for their base of the very wealthy (as Bush has publiclly admitted).
    The Bush/Cheney tax subsidies for the wealthy wall street brokers needs to go. Ask the Repubs how they are going to pay for the $800 billion to extend these subsidies that didn't work to create jobs. Or how about the Repubs say how they pay for the $800+ billion (and millions of jobs) the tax subsidies under Bush/Cheney regime already added to our current deficeit?

    November 11, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  24. Anonymous

    If the President backs down on this issue-it will be the end of my support.
    I understand comprimes- that would be extending the Bush cuts for the under 250K people. But by allowing this other to go through, he would be giving away one of the reasons he was elected at a major cost to Americans.
    Even with out the extension, Their tax rate will be the 3rd lowest in history – right behind the current rate and that of 1921 – 1929. We all know what happened back then with the lower rates.

    November 11, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. PalmReader

    If this compromise should go through, Obama will have lost my support. Obama campaigned on this, and I overlooked his reluctance to address this issue when he first took office. Now his Administration is in last minute decision mode, and rather than put it too the test, Obama is ready once again to bow to the demands of the wealthy. I now see that putting my trust in him was a mistake. He has no interest in protecting the middle class. Never did, it seems.

    November 11, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
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