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. Rick

    Republicans were elected because they've managed to convince enough people that it's ok to steal money from our children and our grandchildren. If I believed in Hell, I'd say there's a special chamber down there waiting for every Republican and every idiot who votes for them.

    November 11, 2010 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  2. gt

    obama is gutless.... why give tax breakes to billionaires.... sad..sad ..sad...

    November 11, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Emile Zola

    People supposedly think that Obama is very intelligent, but intelligence is not or shouldn't be measured by words, but by deeds and if the latter is correct, which I believe it is, then Obama shows a big dent on his armor. Logic and common sense tend to indicate hwo things are going and iif Obama, the candidate, would have complied with his promises as president, we wouldn't be talking about the take over by republicans of the house of representatives and insterad of losing 6 senators, I'm sure he would have gained maybe one or possibly two, but Mr Obama decided to throw progressives, and all the other who voted for him under the bus and decided to join the dark side of America: Tea partiers and republicans that only want him out their lives and America and instead of getting the hint that they don't want him but on a wanted poster, Obama continues to try to get along with enemies that just want you dead. Maybe Mr Obama should listen to Einstein and definition of madness. You broke your promises like the best or worst of politiciains, now reap what yhou sowed.

    November 11, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Deborah/Kansas City

    Thanks for nothing, bunch of cowards, can't stand up for any democratic values.

    November 11, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Sam Sixpack

    The ranks of the poor are growing in leaps and bounds in America. America now has more poor people than ever before. Yet, all we hear about is the middle-class vs. the upper-class.

    The more we ignore the poor, the more we become them.

    November 11, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. America Shrugged

    All the tax cuts should expire. As the GOP campaigned on, "We can't afford more spending" We've had 10 yrs of tax cuts which didn't produce very many jobs and were partly responsible for our economy being in the toliet. Let's also get that budget proposal passed and we can start cutting SS, Medicare, the military, food stamps, section 8, and those wonderful subsidies for big corporations. It's all on the table. The GOP and tea party have steam rolled over you and you must now fold like the cheap suit that they've always thought you were.

    November 11, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Gale

    If Democrats and Republicans don't start working together to make our country a better country, and stop earmarking and voting their own agenda, they will be voted out. The voters of the United States are sick and tired of politicians voting themselves raises, voting for policies that put money in their pockets and helping out their monied backers back home. Corruption and greed is rampant, and the voters are sick of it!!! Do the job you were elected to do.

    November 11, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  8. guest

    Its not compromise when only one side is willing to talk.

    November 11, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Proud Member of Global Zero

    If he caves on this I cave on him. I have had my Boots on the ground for this man since 2007. I figure I need a rest. I too and getting tired of mixed messages. I need a strong person in the WH that defends are selling us out!

    November 11, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  10. john, PA

    Obama better learn to agree on a lot more of what the American people want:
    Cut taxes!
    Repeal Obama care!
    End ear marks!
    Close the border!

    Senate Democrats, when the vote to override Obama’s veto come up,
    or we will vote you and Obama out in 2012!

    November 11, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. Fed Up

    Where exactly are the negotiations/compromise? Isn't this the Republican plan? This is caving, plain and simple. Obama has been a massive disappointment!

    November 11, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Four and The Door

    It is difficult for even the Obama Administration to ignore the obvious when American voters have spoken so clearly. It's not about political gamesmanship Obama, iyt is about results. They are responding to the message.

    November 11, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. SayWhat

    Bad move, Mr President. If you were politically savvy like the GOP, you would have made them lead the charge for tax cuts for the wealthy and then hang the 750 billion addition to the deficit like an albatross around their necks. Why compromise or try to be a leader doing his best for the American people? Just copy the GOP playbook and play politics, politics, politics, with the knowledge that the average American voter is an easily manipulated idiot.

    November 11, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  14. idesign

    How's that hopey changey thing working out for ya?

    November 11, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. flahbahgastid

    Let the rich get richer! How long is everyone going to live with the lie that we are going to solve our problems without raising taxes.

    November 11, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. KatR

    Okay GOP. The President has extended the hand of compromise. Will you do the same? I doubt it.

    November 11, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. richard in Arlington

    I did not work harder and give more to this candidate than any other in my experience with the expectation that his core values were shaped by the political moment. As one who has been on both sides of the $250,000 line my view that the expanding disparity in income in this nation is a cancer that must be excised is unchanged. Even if I have to pay more, paying more is the right thing to do.

    November 11, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Monster Zero

    Budget deficit plan – Obama has doubled the Federal employees making over $150K per year, truly a Democrats idea of job funded bureaucrats to thwart private industries attempts at being productive. Think of it, over 2 million ticks sucking on the Federal dog for 30 years then pulling off taking 85% of their annual pay ($127,500.00) with them for the remainder of their lives...while the private citizens that fund their retirement continue working their butts off at commerce creating jobs to get maybe $13,200.00 annually from Social Security and Medicare...

    November 11, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Dan

    Why not cancel all taxes for the wealthiest. Let us suckers pick up the tab.

    November 11, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  20. T'sah from Virginia

    "...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."

    The RepubliCAN'Ts call it a TAX HIKE when it is keeping the TAX CUTS in place??? Do you see the word "PERMANENTLY" in Steele's statement????????????

    President Obama PLEASE – raise the threshold and END TAX CUTS for those making more than that threshold!!!!

    PASS "the DREAM ACT" and DADT during Lame Duck Period!!!! We still have the MAJORITY in both houses!! Do it WITHOUT the RepubliCAN'Ts!!!!!!!!!!!

    This is T'sah – hoping I do not lose FAITH in our President but N2 Moving America Forward with him because he is our LEADER!!!

    November 11, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. stufthis

    What the hell? Being willing to negotiate with republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts so that our national debt can be increased by $4 trillion in the next decade is not in America's best interest.

    November 11, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. kings

    obama is willing to cave in with these irrational american just because of the devastating sunami of a lost they took from the american people. this will not solve any thing but put us more in a bind. clintonhad high tax rates and the country florished the only ones that didnt like this was the rich and bid corporations. for ten years since bush had the tax cut all this country saw was money coming from the economy and sending over seas or trillions of dollars going on the sideline to fatten up the rich pocket and none of it coming down to main street. I knew it would have to take a nerve of steel for the president not to cave in to the peoples demand. i wonder when this thing doesnt work who the people is going to point their fingers on naw they just going to blame obama and chastise that he shouldnt have lessoned to them. you do you die you dont you die hey obama give the people what they want and stop looking out for their best interest ok. if they had a tax hike the money would have circulated in the economy now the tax break will be going to the rich i am eager to see where the money will be circulating at. either america or china, or some off shore bank account stupid people.

    November 11, 2010 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. John Warren

    Democrats vs. Republican:
    Both parties are so engrossed in the society of their friends/party that they have lost all sense of responsibility to the American people. Boehner/Republicans want to repeal healthcare. I'll agree to that if they are willing to give the American people the same healthcare that they have.

    November 11, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  24. Lisa P

    This would be such a mistake. I would rather see all the tax cuts ended than have multi-millionaires once again dance off with the biggest piece of the pie. A 3% rise is pitiful given the economic straights our country is in thanks to the rich sucking in piles of cash during the Bush years and sending it overseas, or using it to blow up one useless bubble after another. Our government may not use every penny we send it in the wisest possible way, but they are geniuses compared to greedy arrogant "winners" swimming in a bottomless pool of unearned wealth. 3% to the common good beats another 3% flushed down the toilet. If Obama can't make that case he might as well resign now and have the Koch brothers or Steve Forbes take over.

    November 11, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  25. Squiggs

    If Obama gives in on this issue then he has lost my vote in 2012. I am so sick and tired of the Democrats bending over for the Republicans. The fact of the matter is that they have the numbers and the power until Jan1 to do whatever they want. and the Republicans can't do anything about it. This is the last straw for me and I campaigned for him door to door in 2008. I won't even consider voting for him this time. As an African American I was full of pride when Obama won. As a Democrat I'm ashaamed of the weakness they display when faced with tough choices to either give in or go up against the GOP.

    November 11, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
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