While President Obama says he would like to extend tax cuts only for the middle class, former President Bill Clinton is advocating a full extension of cuts, including those benefiting the wealthy, for political and economic reasons.
The current rates are supposed to expire at the end of the calendar year.
Clinton, speaking on CNBC, suggested that higher taxes on the wealthy could be bad for the economy, and he said Republicans would try to force a permanent extension of the cuts, "which I think is an error," he said.
The former president said it was important to consider a program of deficit reduction "two years from now, three years from now, five years from now," but in the near-term, lawmakers should be worried about contraction. He cited European unemployment statistics to support the claim that things could be even worse in the United States.
Former President Clinton broke with President Obama over the Bush-era tax rates, saying he has “no problem” with extending them temporarily.
“I don't have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level,” Clinton told CNBC Tuesday in a taped interview for "Closing Bell."
Obama only wants to extend the tax rate for middle-class taxpayers — and not for the wealthy — when the rates expire on Jan. 1.
-- Posted by Peter Z. Scheer