All four candidates for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut responded Monday to President Barack Obama’s plan to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans, while keeping them in place for one year for the middle class. But surprisingly only one in four panned the proposal.
“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—back when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and plenty of millionaires to boot,” Obama said during his noon press conference in the East Room of the White House.
Republican candidate Linda McMahon agreed. Seven-minutes after his press conference aired, McMahon put out a press release touting her proposal to extend the tax cuts to the middle class.
“President Obama and I agree that Congress must extend the current tax rates for the middle class,” McMahon said. “Last week’s jobs numbers reminded us that no matter what career politicians may say, our economy is still sluggish and middle-class families are hurting. We should not be raising taxes on anyone right now.“
She said that’s why middle class tax relief is the centerpiece of her economic plan, which proposes decreasing the middle class tax rate from 25 to 15 percent. However, it should be noted that unlike Obama, McMahon wants to maintain the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals, while cutting taxes for the middle class.
Her Republican opponent, former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays, couldn’t disagree more with what Obama said Monday.
“The only way to describe the President’s press conference today is insanity,” Shays said. “It makes no sense to raise taxes when the economy continues to falter. It is simply the wrong approach that will actually make our economy worse.”
Shays accused Obama of playing “class warfare.”
“Class warfare may win an election, but it divides our country and hurts our economy,” Shays said.
He suggested focusing on getting the country’s fiscal house in order and simplifying the tax code as the path toward economic growth.
Democratic candidates Susan Bysiewicz and Chris Murphy both applauded Obama’s proposal.
“Extending these cuts for the middle class and small businesses are an important way to make the tax code work for the middle class,” Bysiewicz said.
Sticking with her anti-Wall Street theme, Bysiewicz said Congress needs to “end corporate welfare by eliminating all special interest tax breaks and the hedge fund loophole that allows speculators to pay a lower tax rate than the middle class, end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, and fix the alternative minimum tax, which makes many middle class families pay a higher tax rate than the wealthiest Americans.”
Murphy, who had to cancel a campaign stop in New Haven Monday morning, issued a brief statement in support of the president’s proposal.
“I’ve always believed that Congress should preserve tax cuts for the overwhelming majority of Americans while it works on broader tax reform that will ask the wealthiest amongst us to pay a little bit more to help bring down our deficit,” Murphy said in a statement.
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