President Barack Obama, continuing to publicly press for tax hikes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to help reduce the deficit, took to Twitter on Monday for about an hour to take questions from the public.
The president answered questions posed under the hashtag #my2k — the estimated amount of tax increases most Americans will see if Republicans don't agree to extend the current tax rates for those making less than $250,000. The questions were selected by the White House and ranged from how the deficit deal could help a jobless recent college grad to why Obama opposes keeping rates low for all income brackets.
.@mike5673 high end tax cuts do least for economic growth & cost almost $1T. extending middle class cuts boosts consumer demand & growth -bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
Obama has said Congress should vote on a deal to prevent those scheduled increases where there is agreement, below the $250,000 threshold, but House Republicans have thus far declined do so. House Speaker John Boehner has said the White House needs to better outline its proposed entitlement spending cuts and reforms before Republicans move forward.
Obama told a purple-coiffed @dontbeaprat:
.@dontbeaprat cuts w/out revenue = reductions in student loans; work/study & college tax credits expire. Bad for growth. like your hair! -bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
The president also sought to make it clear he's willing to negotiate on the details of a deficit deal.
.@davidosteen (part 2) Open to more smart cuts but not in areas like R&D, edu that help growth & jobs, or hurt vulnerable (eg disabled) - bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
To one person who was concerned about losing her home mortgage tax deduction, Obama said programs like that could be threatened without the tax increase on the country's wealthiest.
.@soitgoesem breaks for middle class impt for families & econ. if top rates don't go up, danger that middle class deductions get hit - bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
It wasn't all dry tax talk, though, as the Chicago sports fan was asked which hometown team would be the first to win a national title.
.@mica4life da bears still gotta shot, despite sad loss this weekend! plus rose will return for playoffs!!! -bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
Gotta go.Thx.Keep pressure on Congress. Call, email, tweet your Member & tell them what 2k means to you. Lets get it done. #my2k -bo— The White House (@whitehouse) December 3, 2012
Negotiations appear at a stalemate for the moment and it remains to be seen if the president's public appeals will help sway members of Congress.
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Rebekah Metzler is a political writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.