Obama Calls Himself ‘Warrior for the Middle Class’

September 21, 2011 - 3:48 PM
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama gestures while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Sept. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama told Democratic donors that he doesn’t mind being accused of class warfare, even saying that he wears it as a “badge of honor.” He also said Republicans want to return to prosperity through “cheap labor and dirty air.”

“Now, you’re already hearing the Republicans in Congress dusting off the old talking points. You can write their press releases. Class warfare, they say,” Obama said at a Democratic National Committee event in Gotham Hall in New York City on Tuesday night.

“You know what? If asking a billionaire to pay the same rate as a plumber or a teacher makes me a warrior for the middle class, I wear that charge as a badge of honor,” Obama told the crowd, getting applause. “I wear it as a badge of honor. Because the only class warfare I’ve seen is the battle that’s been waged against middle-class folks in this country for a decade now.”

On Monday, Obama announced his plan for a $1.5 trillion tax increase that would target individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and households earning more than $250,000 per year. He said the tax plan would pay for his proposed $447 billion jobs bill and help reduce the federal deficit.

He also called for tax reform that would adhere to the rule that middle-class income earners, for example someone earning $50,000 per year, would not pay more in taxes than “millionaires and billionaires.”

The Associated Press, in a fact check article, said, “On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group, they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government. The 10 percent of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay more than 70 percent of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

Obama said its about choices before posing a series of questions pitting the rich vs. the poor.

“Would you rather keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or do you want to put construction workers and teachers back on the job?” he asked. “Would you rather keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or do you want to invest in new schools, in medical research, in training more engineers? Should we ask seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for Medicare? Or should we ask the biggest corporations to pay their fair share?”

The AP report went on to say, “There may be individual millionaires who pay taxes at rates lower than middle-income workers. In 2009, 1,470 households filed tax returns with incomes above $1 million yet paid no federal income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. But that's less than 1 percent of the nearly 237,000 returns with incomes above $1 million.”

The AP article said, “This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes,” while “Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay an average of 15 percent of their income in federal taxes.”

Finally, “households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes. Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.”

Still, Obama accused the Republicans of seeking to revive the economy by helping corporations.

“This notion that the only thing that we can do to restore prosperity is to let corporations write their own rules, and give tax breaks to the wealthiest few, and tell everybody else that you’re on your own – this idea that the only way we compete in a global economy in the 21st century is to make sure that we’ve got cheap labor and dirty air – that’s not who we are,” Obama said.