In an address on fiscal and education policy in the battleground state of Virginia, US President Barack Obama today presented his budget for the 2013 fiscal year and implicitly challenged Republicans to defend their resistance to raising taxes on the rich.
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Speaking to students at Nothern Virginia Community College in an address carried by MSNBC, Obama returned to the theme of education and job creation, touting the fact that under his administration, the US had created 3.7 million new jobs and saying interest on student loans should be kept low and that education and vocational training were key to retaining and creating jobs.
The president's latest budget proposal was delivered to lawmakers this morning and Obama used the opportunity to reject Republican criticisms that tax increases were the result of social envy and "class warfare."
According to The New York Times, the Obama administration's budget proposals include raising $206 billion in revenues over ten years by taxing dividends paid to the wealthiest tax-payers as ordinary income, which was policy until the administration of George W. Bush.
The president appeared to argue for such changes by zeroing in on the theme of social justice, saying that as the economy gained strength it was time to "renew the American values of fair play and shared responsibility."
"Right now, we're scheduled to spend one trillion dollars more on what was intended to be a tax cut for the wealthiest two percent of Americans," Obama said. "A quarter of all millionaires pay a lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households."
"That's not fair," he said. "I don't need a tax break."
"That's not class warfare. That's common sense," he continued, including himself in a category of wealthier earners. "We don't need the tax breaks. You need them"
"Given where our deficit is, it's just a matter of math that folks like me are going to have to do a little bit more."