Obama proposes $3.1 trillion tax and spending cuts package

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 19, 2011 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday proposes a package of tax increases and cuts from projected spending totaling nearly $3.1 trillion over 10 years to slow down soaring federal budget deficits.

His plan, which he'll detail in a Rose Garden address, will call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases over the decade starting in 2013, most of them on incomes above $200,000.

He'll also propose $580 billion in cuts in projected federal spending. And he'll say his plan should count $1 trillion in savings from the planned withdrawal of troops from Irag and Afghanistan.

Obama will make the $3.1 trillion proposal to the Congressional supercommittee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. His package is larger than that, in part to cover the one-year $447 billion bill cost of his proposed jobs bill.

Most of his proposals will be familiar to Americans, as he's proposed many of them before, either to Congress or in budget talks this summer with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Among his tax proposals:

— Letting the Bush tax cuts expire as scheduled on Dec. 31, 2012 for individual incomes above $200,000 and family incomes above $250,000. The total over 10 years: $800 billion;

— Limiting itemized deductions for the same incomes. Total over 10 years: $400 billion;

— Closing loopholes for oil and gas companies. Total: $40 billion;

— Raising taxes on investment fund managers. Total: $18 billion;

— Raising taxes on owners of corporate jets. Total: $3 billion.

Obama also will propose principles for tax reform — including one he'll call the "Buffet rule" after friend Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor.

Buffett has lamented that he pays lower overall taxes than his secretary because he makes most of his income off of the sale of stocks, and capital gains on stocks are taxed at a lower rate than even middle incomes.

With that in mind, Obama will urge that any tax reform make sure millionaires pay the same overall tax rate as the middle class.

Republicans called the proposed tax increases on the wealthy dead on arrival — as Congress has done under both the Democrats and Republicans since Obama took office.

"Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics," said House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan., R-Wis., on the Fox News Sunday program.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that Buffett "should send in a check" if he wants to pay more taxes, but not expect other rich people to pay more.

He also said on NBC's Meet the Press that even the Democrats wouldn't agree to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when they controlled the Senate.

"They had overwhelming control of the Senate and the House, and it was defeated then," McConnell said. "I would simply go back to what the President said last December in signing a two-year extension of the current tax rates: it's (raising taxes) a bad thing to do in the middle of an economic downturn. And of course the economy, some would argue, is even worse now than it was when the President signed the extension of the current tax rates back in December. I think what he said then still applies now."

Obama's spending proposals include:

— $248 billion cut from projected spending on Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly;

— $72 billion from Medicaid, the insurance program for the poor, and from other goverment health programs. White House officials who briefed reporters said benefits would not be cut.

For more McClatchy politics coverage visit Planet Washington

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