While the focus of the President's press conference in Seoul was the G-20 Summit, he was also asked about the ongoing question of the tax cuts set to expire soon. Austan Goolsbee, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, laid out the numbers in his first White House White Board video back in September, and today the President made clear he is still concerned about the same issues that were raised then:
With respect to the Bush tax cuts, what I’ve said is that I’m going to meet with both the Republican and Democratic leaders late next week and we’re going to sit down and discuss how we move forward. My number-one priority is making sure that we make the middle-class tax cuts permanent, that we give certainty to the 98 percent of Americans who are affected by those tax breaks. I don’t want to see their income taxes spike up -- not only because they need relief after having gone through a horrendous recession, but also because it would be bad for the economy.
I continue to believe that extending permanently the upper-income tax cuts would be a mistake and that we can’t afford it. And my hope is, is that somewhere in between there we can find some sort of solution. But I’m not going to negotiate here in Seoul. My job is to negotiate back in Washington with Republican and Democratic leaders.