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Obama asks GOP to keep middle-class taxes low for Christmas

This news story was published on December 1, 2012.
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President Barack Obama gets a hug after speaking at the K’Nex factory in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, on Friday, November 30, 2012.

By Christi Parsons, Tribune Washington Bureau –

HATFIELD, Pa. — President Obama cast himself in the role of Santa Claus during a visit to a toy factory  Friday, suggesting that Republican lawmakers should get only a lump of coal in their stockings if they don’t work with him this month to extend tax cuts for the middle class.

“I’ve been keeping my own naughty-and-nice list for Washington,” Obama told a crowd gathered on the factory floor of the Rodon Group facility, flanked by elaborate roller coasters and Ferris wheels built of Tinkertoys and K’Nex building toys. There will be some members of Congress who deserve toys this holiday season, he suggested, “and some who don’t.”

Obama didn’t leave the metaphor without conjuring up the image of Vice President Joe Biden in the White House playing with K’Nex, but the president’s message was more than evident by that point: If Republicans don’t extend the middle-class tax cuts, they’ll ruin the holiday.

President Barack Obama walks to the podium to speak as he tours the K’Nex factory in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, on Friday, November 30, 2012.

Republican lawmakers, who say the president’s refusal to extend the cuts for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 will hurt small-business owners, countered with their own business spokesman.

In a video released by the GOP whip, Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Jerry Gorski, the head of Gorski Engineering in Collegeville, Pa., sits in a corner office and says his firm’s work was down 40 percent in the recession. “And now our company has figured out how to survive in this economy and the first thing we want to do with any income I have is tax it? That’s uncertainty,” said Gorski, who voted for Mitt Romney.

But Obama continues to insist, as he did again Friday, that he won’t extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, including the 3 percent of small-business owners in those tax brackets.

In Hatfield, Rodon President Michael Araten said that, if he had to choose, he would be more worried about the loss of the middle-class tax cuts than those for the wealthy.

President Barack Obama looks over a roller coaster structure with K’Nex inventor Joel Glickman, left, robotics expert Joao Silver and CEO Michael Araten at the K’Nex factory in Hatfield, Pennsylvania, on Friday, November 30, 2012.

The expiration of the middle-class tax cuts would cost the average family $2,000 next year, according to White House economists, and Araten said that would harm demand for his products.

“That’s going to have an effect on discretionary spending,” Araten said. “That’s going to have a much greater effect than the incremental percent more I might pay in my taxes” if the upper-income tax cuts go away.

Araten, a registered Democrat who voted for Obama, said the White House contacted the company a few weeks ago to see if they could visit.

The workshops and floors of the factory provided a vivid backdrop for the president’s event. As he spoke to about 350 employees and Democrats from the area, he stood near a giant American flag made of K’Nex and several elaborate toys made from the company’s building pieces.

The company has expanded its domestic operations in recent years, and the president cited Rodon officials as an example of an employer creating jobs in the United States.

A dent in demand would hurt factories like Rodon’s as well as retailers all over the country, Obama said.

“That’s sort of like the lump of coal you get for Christmas,” he said. “That’s a Scrooge Christmas.”

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5 Responses to Obama asks GOP to keep middle-class taxes low for Christmas

  1. Avatar

    blog Reply Report comment

    December 1, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Obama’s re election has proven that you can be a complete failure and totally screw up the country but if you appeal to the controlling voting class of deadbeats sponging off the true working people you will be in office forever. Finally proof that as a society we are lazier and dumber then ever.

    • Avatar

      Just My Opinion Reply Report comment

      December 1, 2012 at 11:09 am

      Ummm… I believe it’s the Republicans who failed. I would certainly call it a failure that Mitt lost the election. Wouldn’t you?

      • Avatar

        Katie Reply Report comment

        December 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

        No. People who don’t want to support the entitled group lost the election. And I’m not talking about people on social security, the military, or the truly disabled.

  2. Avatar

    happyguy Reply Report comment

    December 1, 2012 at 10:29 am

    And Merry Christmas right back to you.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    December 1, 2012 at 9:55 am

    494 BILLION DOLLARS in NEW OBAMMER taxes will be in place Jan 1st -WITH OR WITHOUT any resolutions. MERRY LIBERAL CHRISTMAS you voted him in !