Republicans reject tax breaks cut for wealthy

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : President Barack Obama has suggested what he calls a “common-sense approach” of limiting tax deductions for the wealthy to pay most of the cost of his $447 billion jobs plan.

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But his approach was immediately rejected by the opposition Republicans as unacceptable.

In a message accompanying the proposed legislation he sent to Congress Monday Obama said his proposal “is fully paid for”.

“The legislation includes specific offsets to close corporate tax loopholes and asks the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share that more than cover the cost of the jobs measures,” Obama’s message said.

In addition, he said, the package increases the target figure of a special joint congressional committee working on deficit reduction by the amount his plan would cost.

If the committee reaches the higher target in deficit-reduction measures, then the offsets in his legislation that cover the cost of the plan would be unnecessary and therefore eliminated.

However, House Speaker John Boehner’s spokesman said the White House’s proposal on how to pay for the measure was unacceptable.

“It would be fair to say this tax increase on job creators is the kind of proposal both parties have opposed in the past,” Michael Steel said in a written statement.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said: “I sure hope that the president is not suggesting that we pay for his proposals with a massive tax increase at the end of 2012 on the job creators that we’re actually counting on to reduce unemployment.”

The Obama plan is part of the president’s effort to resurrect a comprehensive deficit reduction deal with Republicans that would include reforms of the tax code and entitlement programmes such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to accompany government spending cuts.

With $900 billion in spending cuts already enacted, the special joint deficit committee created under last month’s debt ceiling agreement has started work on finding another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction steps that Congress can pass by the end of the year.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])