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Obama Unveils New Economic Proposals

  • Kent Klein

President Barack Obama is proposing new tax breaks in hopes of boosting the slumping U.S. economy. The president is campaigning for his economic plan, as experts predict big losses for his Democratic Party in November's congressional elections.

President Obama Wednesday took the case for his economic reform ideas to the recession-battered Central U.S. city of Cleveland, Ohio.

The president wants $180 billion in new tax cuts for businesses and spending on infrastructure projects. He says much of that would spur American companies to hire more workers.

"Instead of tax loopholes that incentivize investment in overseas jobs, I am proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in Ohio, right here in the United States of America," said President Obama.

The national unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, and Ohio's jobless rate is above 10 percent.

Mr. Obama also said he opposes extending former President George W. Bush's tax cuts for high-income Americans beyond this year. Instead, he wants to cut taxes for lower- and middle-income taxpayers.

He lashed out at the top Republican in the House of Representatives, John Boehner, who blasted Mr. Obama's economic policies during a speech in Cleveland two weeks ago.

"There were no new policies from Mr. Boehner," said Mr. Obama. "There were no new ideas. There was just the same philosophy that we had already tried during the decade that they were in power-the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations."

In an interview on ABC television earlier Wednesday, Boehner said ending the upper-income tax cuts would hurt the economy.

"We cannot deal with the deficit until we are willing to get our arms around spending and have a strong economy," said John Boehner. "And you cannot have a strong economy if you are raising taxes on the very people that you expect to invest in our economy to begin hiring people again."

Boehner has led the minority Republicans' efforts to stop the president's economic agenda, and Mr. Obama again accused Republicans of obstruction.

"They are making the same calculation they made just before my inauguration: If I fail, they win," said President Obama. "Well, they might think that this will get them to where they want to go in November. But it will not get our country where it needs to go in the long run."

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that 57 percent of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of the economy. Other polls show that a growing percentage of voters plan to support Republican candidates for Congress in the November elections.