Obama Returns to Middle-Class Tax Cut Pitch
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama reiterated a commitment to cut taxes for America's middle class Monday in a speech that appeared to be more like a campaign pitch than a call for Congress to act.
The speech called on Congress for a one-year extension on tax cuts for households that earn less than $250,000 a year.
"It's time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire," Obama said in a press conference. "What's holding us back from meeting these challenges ... is a stalemate ... in Washington between two very different views about where we should go in this country."
Most economic analysts and political strategists have said that this action likely would be stalled through the rest of the election season.
Tax cuts for the middle class have been a crucial talking point of Obama's campaign, which may be hoping the issue will drive the election among undecided voters who have struggled throughout the president's term.
Obama has previously pushed the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would ensure that taxpayers who make more than $1 million a year would pay at least the same rate as middle-class families.
"He has to believe ... that the fairness argument is going to prevail," Gary Dorrien, a social ethicist at Columbia University who just finished a book about Obama's first term, said in a previous interview. "He's running against a guy who's a poster child for the 1% -- someone paying 14%
With unlikely passage by Congress, Obama's speech signals another chance for the president to take a dig at Republican nominee Mitt Romney -- a wealthy individual who repeatedly has been attacked for a lack of transparency with his personal income taxes.
Legendary investor Warren Buffett -- for whom the Buffett Rule is named after -- did speak up for Romney in January, when he said it's not the former Massachusetts governor's fault for having paid a 15% tax rate.
Romney's campaign tax proposals for individual earners includes a permanent, across-the-board 20% cut in marginal rates, continuance of current rates on interest, dividends and capital gains, repeal of the alternative minimum tax and elimination of interest, dividends and capital gains on earners who make less than $200,000 adjusted gross income.
Fellow private equity business people and economists argue that eventually a President Romney would have to raise taxes .