Posted December 7, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Yesterday evening, President Obama announced a framework for a bipartisan agreement on taxes and unemployment benefits, as well as many other job-creation measures. The President explained:
Sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do. The American people didn’t send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories. They would much rather have the comfort of knowing that when they open their first paycheck on January of 2011, it won’t be smaller than it was before, all because Washington decided they preferred to have a fight and failed to act.
The President made clear his preference to permanently extend the middle-class tax cuts and his opposition to the Republican's insistence that taxes also be lowered for the wealthiest 2 percent, stressing that economists largely agree that such a tax cut would do little to grow the economy. But as part of the agreement, Republicans agreed to end their obstruction of unemployment benefits for people looking for work, as well as other measures that will contribute to job creation.
President Obama continued:
I have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don’t like. In fact, there are things in here that I don’t like — namely the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the wealthiest estates. But these tax cuts will expire in two years. And I’m confident that as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down, as I engage in a conversation with the American people about the hard choices we’re going to have to make to secure our future and our children’s future and our grandchildren’s future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer.
As for now, I believe this bipartisan plan is the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do for jobs. It’s the right thing to do for the middle class. It is the right thing to do for business. And it’s the right thing to do for our economy. It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize.
It’s not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery. It will stop middle-class taxes from going up. It will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.
Building on that momentum is what I’m focused on. It’s what members of Congress should be focused on. And I'm looking forward to working with members of both parties in the coming days to see to it that we get this done before everyone leaves town for the holiday season. We cannot allow this moment to pass.