Administration can't get its story straight on taxes

President Obama says he will raise taxes on "the rich" at year's end - even though his vice president contradicted him during the debate.


The Obama administration said on Friday it has not changed its stance on letting tax rates rise at year-end for high-income Americans, despite comments from Vice President Joe Biden in Thursday night's debate that seemed to suggest a shift.

"Our position on the Bush tax cuts has not changed," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Friday, referring to the expiration in 2013 of tax cuts enacted a decade ago under Republican President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama, a Democrat, favors letting the Bush-era rates expire for families making $250,000 or more. For these taxpayers, income above that level would be taxed at 36 percent and then, if their income reaches another threshold, at 39.6 percent under the Obama plan. That income is now taxed at 33 percent and 35 percent under the Bush-era rates.

Biden said in the debate that tax cuts could sunset for taxpayers making $1 million or more a year.

Describing the administration's tax plan, Biden said: "The middle class will pay less and people making a million dollars or more will begin to contribute slightly more."

"Just let taxes expire like they are supposed to on those millionaires," Biden said later in the debate.

"We can't afford $800 billion going to people who (are) making a minimum of $1 million," he said.

Obama has called for retaining the Bush-level tax rates for families making less than $250,000 annually.

All the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at year-end if Congress does not act - an outcome that is part of the "fiscal cliff" that also includes deep automatic federal spending cuts.

Biden's mention of $1 million as the cut-off threshold for Obama's policy - rather than $250,000 for families or $200,000 for individuals - may have been unintentional.

Note: That number $800 billion is over 10 years - another piece of dishonesty from Bazooka Joe.

It may have been an "unintentional" lie as Reuters helpfully points out. But it is either a gaffe or proof that the administration is still casting about, trying to avoid the fiscal cliff that would probably plunge the economy back into recession.