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Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Take Center Stage in "Fiscal Cliff" Debate

The issue of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans has taken center stage in the political battle over a looming "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and spending hikes that could tip the country into an economic recession at the start of next year. The New York Times reports President Obama is hoping to recruit corporate executives to pressure Republicans to accept higher taxes in exchange for assurances of Democratic votes to reduce so-called entitlements, like Medicare and Medicaid. On Saturday, President Obama defended tax hikes for the wealthy.

President Obama: "Now, I’m open to compromise and new ideas. But I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced. I will not ask students or seniors or middle-class families to pay down the entire deficit while people making over $250,000 a year aren’t asked to pay a dime more in taxes."

Republican House Speaker John Boehner, meanwhile, argued against any tax hikes as part of a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."

John Boehner: "Instead of raising tax rates on the American people and accepting the damage it will do to our economy, let’s start to actually solve the problem. Let’s focus on tax reform that closes special-interest loopholes and lowers tax rates. Instead of accepting arbitrary cuts that will endanger our national defense, let’s get serious about shoring up the entitlement programs that are the primary drivers of our country’s massive, growing debt."

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