Former President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily renewed, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on a longer-term extension that should exclude the rich.
Clinton’s comments were in contrast to President Barack Obama, whose re-election he is supporting. Obama has opposed renewing the tax reductions for people earning over $250,000 a year, saying they must contribute to the effort to control rampant federal deficits.
Reductions in income tax rates and other levies first enacted under President George W. Bush expire in January, at the same time that $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts begin to take effect. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and others have warned that letting both events occur would suck so much money out of the economy that it could spark a renewed recession next year.
“What I think we need to do is to find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election,” Clinton said on CNBC’s “Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo.”
Last week, Clinton said GOP presidential challenger Mitt Romney had a “sterling” record at private equity firm Bain Capital, departing from efforts by Obama’s campaign to criticize the Republican’s experience there as having little to do with job creation.