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When it comes to taxes, for example, there are two pathways available.

One says, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, then everybody’s taxes automatically go up – including the 98% of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. Our economy can’t afford that right now. You can’t afford that right now. And nobody wants that to happen.

The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income. That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut. And 98% of Americans, and 97% of all small business owners, won’t see their income taxes go up a single dime.

For the second week in a row, President Obama tackled middle class tax cuts, laying out in the simplest language yet (see above) exactly the choice ahead for Congress. Last week, if you may remember, his first Saturday morning address last week was a a rumble and a grumble as he basked in electoral victory.

This is a man who sounds like he's not ready to back down, willing to name who's holding things up:

The Senate has already passed a bill like this. Democrats in the House are ready to pass one, too. All we need is for Republicans in the House to come on board.
And eager to propose a timely solution:
We shouldn’t hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy. Let’s begin our work by actually doing what we all agree on. Let’s keep taxes low for the middle class. And let’s get it done soon – so we can give families and businesses some good news going into the holiday season.
He had what he called a "constructive meeting" with Congressional leaders Friday, he told listeners, and then laid down a slap of electoral mandate whoop-ass:
Everyone agreed that while we may have our differences, we need to come together, find solutions and take action as soon as possible.

Because if anything, that’s the message I heard loud and clear in the election.

Work as hard as you can to make our lives better. And do it together.

Don’t worry about the politics. Just get the job done.

He closed with praise for the resilience and grit for the American people he met and heard from during his campaign (you know, that campaign we just went through that he won and which we sincerely can hope he'll remind Republicans of at every turn).

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
November 17, 2012

Hi, everybody.

Four years after the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, our economy is growing again and creating jobs. But we have much more to do. Our task now is to build on that progress. Because this nation only succeeds when we’ve got a growing, thriving middle class.

That’s what drives me. That’s what I campaigned on for the past year. That’s what will guide me in our work over the next four years. And I’m willing to work with anyone of any party to move this country forward.

Because soon, we face a very clear deadline that requires us to make some big decisions on jobs and taxes; on investments and deficits. Both parties voted to set this deadline. And I believe both parties can work together to make these decisions in a balanced and responsible way.

When it comes to taxes, for example, there are two pathways available.

One says, if Congress fails to act by the end of the year, then everybody’s taxes automatically go up – including the 98% of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year. Our economy can’t afford that right now. You can’t afford that right now. And nobody wants that to happen.

The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income. That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut. And 98% of Americans, and 97% of all small business owners, won’t see their income taxes go up a single dime.

The Senate has already passed a bill like this. Democrats in the House are ready to pass one, too. All we need is for Republicans in the House to come on board.

We shouldn’t hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy. Let’s begin our work by actually doing what we all agree on. Let’s keep taxes low for the middle class. And let’s get it done soon – so we can give families and businesses some good news going into the holiday season.

I know these challenges won’t be easy to solve. But we can do it if we work together.

That’s why on Friday I sat down with Congressional leaders to discuss how we can reduce our deficit in a way that strengthens our economy and protects our middle class. It was a constructive meeting. And everyone agreed that while we may have our differences, we need to come together, find solutions and take action as soon as possible.

Because if anything, that’s the message I heard loud and clear in the election.

Work as hard as you can to make our lives better. And do it together.

Don’t worry about the politics. Just get the job done.

Everywhere I went in that campaign – from farms in Iowa to the Vegas strip; from Colorado’s Rockies to the Florida coast – I was inspired by the grit and resilience of the American people, by your hard work and sense of decency. And it makes me want to work even harder for you. I saw it again this week in New York, where our fellow citizens are going through a really tough time, but are helping each other through it. And we’re going to be there to help them rebuild.

Every single day, the good people of this country work as hard as you can to meet your responsibilities. Those of us you sent to Washington are going to do the same.

Thanks and have a great weekend.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  That's the right way to frame the issue: (23+ / 0-)
    The other path is for Congress to pass a law right away to prevent a tax hike on the first $250,000 of anyone’s income. That means all Americans – including the wealthiest Americans – get a tax cut. And 98% of Americans, and 97% of all small business owners, won’t see their income taxes go up a single dime.

    Every honest communication poses a risk that we will hear something that could challenge or change us. -- Kenneth Cloke

    by GreenMtnState on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:05:36 AM PST

    •  Excellent Framing but no "whoop ass" (8+ / 0-)

      Susan's "whoop ass" description is wishful thinking.

      For those that don't remember, here's real whoop ass.

      From an FDR 1936 campaign speech in Madison Square Garden:

      "For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.

      We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace—business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

      They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

      Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me—and I welcome their hatred.

      I should like to have it said of my first Administration that in it the forces of selfishness and of lust for power met their match. I should like to have it said of my second Administration that in it these forces met their master."

      look for my eSci diary series Thursday evening.

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:56:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes - to be specific that everyone gets a cut on (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreenMtnState

      INCOMES up to $250k is exactly the right frame.  I'm glad he's finally doing it now, although it's been a mystery to me why didn't do this 2 years ago or last year and barely described it that way during the election campaign.  Better late than never.

      Now, if he keeps saying this so that more than the three people who listen to his Saturday radio messages can hear it, he might get the popular pressure on the Repubs he wants.  Remember when such a suggestion to use the bully pulpit was frowned upon around here?  I do.

      The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

      by accumbens on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:20:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, they already heard it. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        v2aggie2, WilliamE

        60 million people voted for it. That was his chief campaign point. Other than not being the other guy.

        •  No. What they heard almost exclusively was that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          grollen

          families making more than $250k would pay more or would see their tax rates go up.  That is not the same - nor is it as accurate - as saying everybody (very family) gets a tax break on the first $250k of income.  Incomes, not people/families, are taxed.

          Framing in terms of incomes makes a big difference because, aside from actually being accurate, it means that arguments against the tax increase are even weaker than they first appear and it makes fighting against them a real fight for greed (i.e., those above $250 aren't getting enough of a tax break).

          The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

          by accumbens on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 05:04:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  we voted for the right guy (16+ / 0-)
    Work as hard as you can to make our lives better. And do it together.

    Don’t worry about the politics. Just get the job done.

    yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

    by annieli on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:05:57 AM PST

    •  I told someone yesterday that if the 2008 election (8+ / 0-)

      was like dodging a bullet, 2012 was like evading a drone strike.

      Listening to Romney spend his post-election time doing nothing but reaffirm the breadth and depth of his assholery is rather stunning, but not really surprising.

      It is, after all, his true nature. We knew it, his party knew it, and his supporters actually encouraged it.

      Thankfully, we prevented it.

      If Florida treated their voting rolls like they do their gun permits then either everyone could vote or very few could pack heat.

      by here4tehbeer on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:39:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed it was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        here4tehbeer

        yksitoista ulotteinen presidentin shakki. / tappaa kaikki natsit "Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) 政治委员, 政委‽ Warning - some snark above ‽

        by annieli on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:11:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That reminds me of the warning I get on my phone (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli

          whenever I enable the GPS:

          My Location

          By enabling "Standalone GPS services", you are allowing access to all location information by any third party through web access or any software or peripheral components you choose to install, download, add/or attach to the device or by any other means.

          Enabling this functionality could pose certain risks to users of this device.

          [Agree]  [Cancel]

          “General Petraeus goes out there almost every day in an unarmed humvee.” -John McCain, 27th March 2007

          by here4tehbeer on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:57:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  lol. n.t (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annieli, vigilant meerkat

    If money is speech, then speech must be money.

    by dkmich on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:08:47 AM PST

  •  Quibble / edit of PBO's remarks (11+ / 0-)
    We shouldn’t hold the middle class hostage while Congress debates tax cuts for the wealthy.
    Should read:
    The Republican leadership and Tea Party Caucus shouldn't hold the middle class hostage while insisting on tax cuts for the wealthy.
    There ain't no "we" in Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi's pocket, Mr. President.  Both of them are on board.  It's Cantor and Ryan who are gumming up the works.  Call 'em out.

    "Mitt who? That's an odd name. Like an oven mitt, you mean? Oh, yeah, I've got one of those. Used it at the Atlas Society BBQ last summer when I was flipping ribs."

    by Richard Cranium on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:08:58 AM PST

  •  Keep pounding it, Mr President---because you know (8+ / 0-)

    Boehnor, et al. are not going to stop their opposition.....

    Paint them into that corner until they yell "uncle"....

  •  Do not "Negotiate" Tax Cuts for the Wealthy!!! (4+ / 0-)

    I, as a solid lower middle class teacher by profession demand that this country start paying for two wars and associated expenses.  I will gladly and patriotically pay more in taxes.

    It is time to pay our bills.

    I'm just here for the Mojo!

    by Gator on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:18:01 AM PST

  •  numbers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, wishingwell, dharmafarmer

    I read on this site that Dem candidates for the House aggregated more votes countrywide, yet are the minority.  This is not a representational democracy.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:26:24 AM PST

    •  In places where we won (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TheDuckManCometh

      it was by large margins.
      In places where we lost, there were still a lot of D votes.
      Added all up, we had the national majority, but only gained 7 or 8 seats.
      The best part is who lost those seats. Joe Walsh, Allen West, Dan Lundgren, Brian Bilbray, David Rivera....
      And who won, including: Alan Greyson and Elizabeth Esty.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:02:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Respectfully, when I hear the President start (10+ / 0-)

    Discussing the need to rein in out of control "defense" and war spending rather than "entitlements," I'll have greater faith that we might make some forward progress.   So far it sounds a lot like what we heard last year, just a slight change in the cards held by the House.

    "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

    by Rikon Snow on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:27:26 AM PST

  •  Well, at least he left out (8+ / 0-)

    The hair-on-fire fiscal cliff!  The entire purpose of the so called fiscal cliff meme is to push him into making disastrous cuts in SS, Medicare and Medicaid.  I'm cheering him to hold firm on that.  Giving in on cuts would not only be bad for recipients, and the nation. It would nearly destroy the Democratic party for the foreseeable future.  It would make us fools, just like the poor fools who voted for the demonstrably incoherent Republican party.  If there's ONE issue that all Democrats agree on, it's that SS is THE most successful government program ever, and we should protect and expand these programs for ALL citizens.
    Hang in there Barack! You know it's the right thing to do!

  •  I just hope that tax cuts for the rich (7+ / 0-)

    isn't the hill that Obama is politically willing to "die" on, which of course should be cuts to entitlement benefits, and that it's just one of many battles he's willing to wage and not budge on. Because as I hope he knows, Repubs are willing to give up on this one, because the one they're really focused on is entitlements. It was always a set up for that, whereby they'd grudgingly "sacrifice" tax cuts for the rich, in exchange for benefits cuts for everyone else.

    Don't let them play you, Obama.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:28:56 AM PST

  •  Obama "not impressed" (0+ / 0-)

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:36:17 AM PST

  •  Sure doesn't seem like he's inclined to back down (4+ / 0-)

    He will probably have to compromise on some things at some point, but he's staking out a tough stance and that's encouraging.

  •  Today is the first day that OH counties will start (0+ / 0-)

    Counting and tallying provisional ballots.  Despite Husted's order, which is being challenged, around 200k ballots will be counted.  

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:42:14 AM PST

  •  Limited Itemized Tax Deductions is a Ruse!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    To allow the tax debate to be dictated by the losers tax plan (Mitt Romney's) the republicans are going to get their way and act as if they are creating a more fair taxing of the rich by saying (Eliminate the loopholes and limit the itemized tax deductions of the WEALTHY and broaden the tax base) = A ruse to not raise the marginal tax rate on people making $250,000 or more. And i'm afraid that Obama and the democrats we just elected have tried to open that door to try and look bipartisan.
       This is a serious mistake limiting tax deductions and broadening the tax base = GETTING MORE TAX REVENUE FROM THE MIDDLE CLASS. They throw in the word WEALTHY to complete the ruse.
       I f they don't do what we voted for ( Raise the marginal tax rate on $250,000 or more, make carried interest or capital gains to be taxed as regular income and take the cap off of Social Security to make it solvent for forever) The people we have just contributed to with money we don't have, canvassed for on time we could have  used for ourselves and voted for to win office. Will have effectively used us!!!!!!MARK MY WORDS!!!

  •  It was always fascinating watching the gooper reps (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Palafox, Janet 707

    go home during congressional recesses and hold town halls.....which seemed to get pretty unruly at times......Guessing they'll get even more unruly now.....(psst....hey guys....you totally mis-read the 2010 election)

  •  the "for reals" bit in the title is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston, BleacherBum153

    uncharacteristically disrespectful of the President for a DailyKos diarist. Frankly, not everything said about President Obama needs to be prefaced with "you know what I'm sayin'?" "bee-otch!" and "what what" just because he's African American.

    My name is X. I'm a semi-military black woman and I voted for Barack Obama.

    by tha puddin on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:50:01 AM PST

  •  The third path not mentioned is to let the Bush (3+ / 0-)

    Tax cuts expire an then invite the GOP to join Democrats in passing an immediate return of the Bush tax for those earning less than $250,000 which politically may be the most feasible.  

    It is better to frame it this way, because one then sees how much better this path would be than any compromises on social spending given up unnecessarily to achieve the same under the banner of path to.  As in what painful (but unnecessary concessions such as a cost-of-living reductions for Social Security, Medicare, and Government pensions) did we give up to convince the Republicans to "give us" the middle tax cuts.

    This is BS. They are not giving us anything. The existing tax cuts were temporary and will expire in January.

    If we wanted to illustrate the absurdity of making big concessions to get the middle class extension, maybe we should ask what the Republicans will give us if we go along with a tax cut for the middle class.

    If it expires and we have a tax cut for the middle class on the table discussed in 24/7 news see how long it takes for the GOP to crumble.

    Democrats will blunder if we give up Social Security Cost of Living and other concession to get this. And, a painful blunder it will be in terms of the hard won regained Democratic unity.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:50:37 AM PST

    •  Entitlements (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      How did entitlements get back on the table?  That was not what we voted for.  No concessions should be made to the Republicans.  They lost and they should make the concessions, and get on with it.  The Democrats should not risk losing their base.  Thinking that progressive social issues wins elections is a fallacy.  Obama won because people do not want changes to social security and medicare.  Let Republicans run on a platform to change these programs and see how they do.

      •  Not entitlemenents. Social Security is insurance. (0+ / 0-)

        Medicare and Medicaid are paid for with taxes. Neither Medicare or Social Security are means tested.

        2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll. http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

        by CuriousBoston on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 01:18:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll believe it when somebody introduces and (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vigilant meerkat

    fights for a bill.

    And nobody wants that to happen.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:53:42 AM PST

  •  I wish he would stop talking about small (0+ / 0-)

    businesses when he is talking about income tax.  The Republicans keep bringing up the idea that the income tax is also a small business tax and will reduce hiring, either because they are trying to confuse the issue, or perhaps they actually don't understand.

    Your request has bad syntax or is inherently impossible to satisfy. --httpd_err400form

    by Bob Novak Douchebag of Liberty on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:08:13 AM PST

  •  Big Advantage This Time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gilpin Guy, CuriousBoston, v2aggie2

    The President does not have to wait until January 21st to govern and speak out. He already has his team in place and doesn't have to start from scratch getting "Advice and Consent" from the Senate.

    This time the election is fresh in everyone's mind. Obama is NOT going to let them forget.

    The Democrats create jobs. The Republicans create recessions.

    by Tuba Les on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 08:37:20 AM PST

  •  Very sad that the "red line" is where it is. (0+ / 0-)

    Raising the top rate to Clinton levels is a pittance. Amazing that it create hysterics on the right.

    Lest anyone think Obama is taking the "progressive" position on this issue, plutocrats won't be touched. The Romneys of this world will still pay their 13% or less. It's not going to matter to them, which is why all of this is kabuki theater.

    Real tax reform means raising the capital gains tax to 35% for starters, and then make that "progressive" too. The more money you make, the higher the rate goes. All the way up to 91%.

    Same with the highest tax brackets, and we need more of them. Create them for one million, ten million, fifty million, one hundred million and one billion. Top rate should be 91%.

    In a capitalist society, about the only recourse we have as a nation, when it comes to the massive inequality created by capitalism -- it's baked into the system -- is a progressive tax system.

    It's been eroded over time to the point where it's almost "flat".

    Obama is merely taking what would have been a moderate Republican position not so long ago. The Overton Window has been pushed so far to the right that 39% is now seen as "radical".

    Yes, he's better on this than the current GOP. But he's terrible in comparison to past presidents, such as FDR, Truman, Ike and Kennedy.

  •  this is great framing: (0+ / 0-)
    1. everyone enjoys tax relief on their first 250k of income.

    "a lie that can no longer be challenged becomes a form of madness" -Debord

    by grollen on Sat Nov 17, 2012 at 07:06:33 PM PST

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