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Obama: No new tax cuts for the rich

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JEREMY HOBSON: Read my lips: no new tax cuts for the rich.
The president will send that message today when he speaks about the economy in Cleveland. Marketplace’s Scott Tong joins us live from Washington with more. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT TONG: Hi Jeremy, good morning.

HOBSON: What’s the president expected to say today in Cleveland?

TONG: Let the taxes go back up, for the richest among us. We’re talking about income taxes for families making more than $250,000. During the George W. Bush administration they were lowered from more than 39 percent in the top bracket down to 35 percent. But those cuts expire this year and the president wants that to happen. What he does want to extend, though, is tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans below that threshold.

HOBSON: Well it sounds like a populist campaign theme. Is he trying purposefully to pit the middle class against the rich?

TONG: Well there’s no fixed definition for “middle class,” but that’s how the administration is painting it. It’s trying to rally Democrats behind that narrative for the fall. That it’s us, the regular people, versus those people.

HOBSON: But Scott, are all the Democratic candidates running for election going to be with the president on this populist pitch?

TONG: Well Jeremy, Democrats and unity has been a question ever since, well, dirt. Some Democrats this campaign are getting slammed for supposedly raising taxes and are wavering on this issue. So this is seen as a message from the White House to stand firm on these expiring tax cuts.

HOBSON: OK. Marketplace’s Scott Tong live in Washington. Thanks, Scott.

TONG: You’re welcome.

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