Should the Bush Tax Cuts Be Extended for Non-Millionaires?

Nancy Pelosi wants to raise the income bar so more households would benefit from an extension of the cuts.

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On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi asked House Speaker John Boehner to schedule an immediate vote to make the Bush tax cuts permanent for those making below $1 million annually. "By ensuring that the middle-income tax cuts do not expire, we will put money into the pockets of American consumers, saving the typical middle-income family thousands of dollars per year,” the Democratic representative from California wrote to Representative Boehner.

President Barack Obama has pledged to renew the cuts for those making under $250,000, and Republicans support unrestricted extension of the tax cuts, regardless of income.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the budget and deficit.]

The cuts, set to expire at the end of this year, were passed by President George W. Bush in 2001. Obama has made repeated calls for the super rich to pay their "fair share" but for middle and low income families to continue receiving the tax breaks in this tough economy. Pelosi’s call to raise the income bracket covered by an extension to $1 million implies that all households making under $1 million annually can be considered "typical middle-income."

Obama stands little chance of getting Republicans to agree on setting the bar at the lower $250,000. If the tax cut is extended for those making under $1 million, Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that the government stands to lose 43 percent of federal revenue that could otherwise be generated by in 2013. An unrestricted extension of the cuts would almost double the federal budget deficit.

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