Obama Defends Tax Cut Stance
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
President Obama took questions at a town hall meeting yesterday in Washington, where voters repeatedly expressed their disappointment.
NPR's Ari Shapiro reports the president defended his economic decisions, including his opposition to the of Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
ARI SHAPIRO: President Bush's across-the-board tax cuts expire in January. And the debate over whether to extend them has become a focal point of the mid-term elections. President Obama argued, yesterday, that his plan includes tax cuts for everyone.
BARACK OBAMA: If you make more than $250,000 a year, you still get a tax break; it's just you only get it up to 250,000.
SHAPIRO: His Republican opponents and a few Democrats want to extend the tax cuts on all income. Some have suggested a compromise: raising the cutoff to a million dollars a year. But at a forum hosted by CNBC, the president said that plan does not make economic sense.
OBAMA: I can't give tax cuts to the top two percent of Americans, 86 percent of that money going to people making a million dollars or more, and lower the deficit at the same time. I don't have the math.
SHAPIRO: Many voters pushed back on why the President's economic policies have not produced more improvement, including the first audience member to ask a question - who did not give her name.
Unidentified Woman: I'm exhausted of defending you, defending your administration...
INSKEEP: ...defending the mantle of change that I voted for.
Woman: ...and deeply disappointed with where we are right now.
SHAPIRO: Mr. Obama admitted that things are not where they need to be, but he argued that the country is moving in the right direction.
Ari Shapiro, NPR News, the White House.
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