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Obama, Orszag at Odds Over Bush Tax Cuts

President Barack Obama disagrees with his recently departed budget director that all Bush-era tax cuts should be extended, including those for the wealthy, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday.

Peter Orszag, who stepped down in late July as director of the Office of Management and Budget, penned a column in Tuesday’s New York Times urging a two-year extension of all Bush tax cuts set to expire in January, for fear that higher taxes on anyone right now could hamper economic recovery.

“Higher taxes now would crimp consumer spending, further depressing the already inadequate demand for what firms are capable of producing at full tilt,” Orszag wrote. “No one wants to make an already stagnating jobs market worse for the next year or two, which is exactly what would happen if the cuts expire as planned.”

His stance puts him at odds with Obama and Congressional Democrats, who support extending the tax cuts for the middle-class tax but not for people in the upper-income bracket.

Gibbs said that the White House was not given a heads-up on Orszag’s column and that he “certainly” did not remember Orszag making that argument in past White House meetings. Above all, he said Obama does not agree with Orszag that the administration and Democrats should compromise with Republicans by extending tax cuts for the wealthy.

“The president’s viewpoint is that we cannot afford to extend the tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year,” Gibbs told reporters during a briefing.

“If you’re making $250,000 … there’s not a great crush on or pullback in your consumer demand. … This economy’s not hurting people who make $800,000 a year. It’s hurting families that are making $40,000 a year,” he said.

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