Obama Now “Open” To Extending Bush Tax Cuts For All Taxpayers

This is, perhaps, the first sign that the Obama Administration is recognizing the new political realities after Tuesday:

President Obama is now open to extending the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels, the White House said Thursday, a notable change in tax policy from the administration.

However White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said the administration is still against a permanent extension of all the Bush-era tax cuts, especially to the wealthiest Americans.

Before the midterm elections, the extension of all Bush-era tax cuts–especially for individuals making over $250,000 a year -was the threshold the White House and Democrats were unwilling to cross. The White House said repeatedly before the election that it was open to extending some of the tax cuts, mostly for those in the middle class.

However in recent days, there has been increasing rhetoric on both sides of the aisle that a temporary extension of all tax cuts were now on the table. If the White House pushes for a permanent extension of all tax cuts, it would be one of the first “olive branches” that President Obama has offered  to the Republicans since Tuesday’s landslide win for the GOP.

“Obviously, the president [believes] making those tax cuts for the upper end permanent is something that the president does not believe is a good idea,” Gibbs said. “But this is something that I presume will take up big chunk of the lame duck congressional session and … as the president said yesterday, he’s certainly willing to listen to both sides.”

There is, obviously, an advantage for the Obama Administration in having the tax cut issue dealt with in the lame duck session since the Democrats still control both chambers until the 112th Congress is sworn in on January 3rd. Doing it now gives them more control over the legislative process.

My guess is that we’ll see an extension of the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, but that the cuts for taxpayers earning above $ 250,000 a year will be limited in time and/or offset by eliminating certain tax credits.

FILED UNDER: US Politics, , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    Heh. “Well, I have asked the Congressional Republicans to work with us, to compromise with us where we can, but they are intransigent, even after I agreed with them re the Bush tax cuts. I wish it were otherwise, but they seem adamant in their refusal to compromise. As Robert Downy said, pointing to his crazy brother-in-law in that movie, ‘You see what I’m working with here?’ “

  2. Alex Knapp says:

    Praised be to the Republicans, whose dedication to fiscal conservatism has finally convinced Obama to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars….

  3. Franklin says:


  4. John Personna says:

    Ah but Alex it will be Obama’s debt, don’t ya see 😉

    They can force it and run against it both.

  5. PD Shaw says:

    I’ll again mark my continuing dissapointment that tax policy issues have to be framed solely by Obama’s ten year old critique of the Bush tax cuts.

  6. Drew says:

    “Praised be to the Republicans, whose dedication to fiscal conservatism has finally convinced Obama to increase the national debt by trillions of dollars….”

    Ah, yes. Those nasty voters. The people who pay. How dare they. How un-American.

    And no mention of spending. Too icky I guess…….

  7. Alex Knapp says:


    After Republicans successfully demagogued the Democrats for cutting Medicare and now refuse to propose any spending cuts while promoting extending the Bush tax cuts, I’m supposed to take them seriously?


  8. John Personna says:

    There was this thing Grover Nordquist did. He’d say “I don’t care, as long as my taxes are cut.”

    People bought it. Level of taxation has been successfully divorced from budgeting