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Political battle over Obama plan to tax rich

September 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A political battle is heating up in Washington over President Barack Obama's new long-term plan aimed at cutting the deficit.

Obama on Monday called on Congress to increase taxes by $1.5 trillion as part of a 10-year deficit reduction package totaling more than $3 trillion.

He proposed that Congress overhaul the tax code and impose what he called the "Buffett rule," named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who supports increased taxes on the wealthy.

"This is not class warfare. It's math," Obama declared, anticipating Republican criticism, which was quick in coming.

The president is threatening to veto any deficit-cutting legislation from Congress if it slashes future Medicare benefits without raising taxes on the wealthy.

Obama also wants nearly $250 billion in reduction in Medicare spending and $330 billion in cuts in other mandatory benefit programs.

The president is also counting on savings of $1 trillion from the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

House Speaker John Boehner has said tax hikes for the rich, like the ones included in the president's newly unveiled plan, are unacceptable.

"At a time when it's spending that's out of control, giving the federal government more money would be like giving a cocaine addict more cocaine," Boehner said.

The tax hikes in Obama's plan would mainly hit the rich and target loopholes and subsidies used by many larger corporations, but Republicans say those tax hikes could threaten job creation.

According to an ABC7/Survey USA poll, 62 percent of Southern Californians think it would be fair for those making over $200,000 as individuals, or $250,000 as a couple, to pay more. Thirty-four percent said it was unfair, while 4 percent were not sure.

When asked if the president's plan to limit deductions to 28 percent for anyone making more than $250,000 a year would be fair, 58 percent said it was fair, while 31 percent said it was unfair. Eleven percent was not sure.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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