Reporting Jon Keller
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BOSTON (CBS) – President Barack Obama calls for an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy while keeping them for the middle class. But where do you draw the line?
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Plenty of Democrats were upset when President Obama agreed to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts two years ago. But with the cuts due to expire again next year, and the president calling on the rich to pay more, an old question is being renewed: how much do you need to make to be considered rich?
Within the Democratic Party, there is disagreement on where the middle class ends and the upper class begins.
“I just believe that anybody making over $250,000 a year should go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton,” said President Obama.
But, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats say the cutoff should be $1 million.
WBZ-TV sought clarification from the chair of the Democratic National Committee.
“It’s very clear that Democrats have been fighting for tax breaks for the middle class. Republicans have been fighting for tax breaks for the wealthy. That’s the bottom line,” said Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the DNC chair.
Mitt Romney’s policy director Lanchee Chen didn’t want to define middle-class income either. But, he did clarify where his candidate and the president differ.
“Well, the issue isn’t about who pays more… It’s about how we grow the economy and create jobs,” said Chen. “Regardless of whether it’s 250 or whatever other threshold they pick, we’re talking about raising taxes on job creators, and that’s just the last thing you want to do during this kind of economy.”
The bottom line is this whole thing is little more than campaign posturing.
Pelosi and other Democrats who wanted the million-dollar cutoff now say they’re backing the president in the interests of “party unity,” but nothing is going to happen until after Election Day, when the voters will rule on what level of taxation they think is fair.
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