ElectionWatch: Obama Proposes Tax Hike as Part of Economic Stimulus Plan

     There are mixed views on the economy – some say we’ll avert a recession, some say we’re destined for a recession and some say we’re already in a recession. Despite that uncertainty, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama suggested that raising taxes is in the best interest of the American economy.

     “Well, I think that there’s no doubt that letting the Bush tax cuts on the top 1 percent lapse would not have, I think, a significant impact on the economy, but would bolster our fiscal situation,” Obama said on CNN’s “American Morning January 9. “We continue to run big deficits – our national debt has increased drastically. That is not good for our long-term economic security.”

     Roberts asked twice about raising taxes before Obama directly addressed the issue.

     Obama also said he wasn’t concerned with what the technical definition of a “recession” is.  He said he was more concerned with how people feel – a notion that is eerily similar to what CNN senior business correspondent Ali Velshi said on October 18.

     “You know, I’m less concerned about the technical definitions of a recession than I am with all the people I meet who are struggling every day and they have been struggling for many years,” Obama said. “Even when the economy looked like it was doing well on paper and Wall Street was flush with cash, people feel that they’re working harder for less.”

     Obama continued his populist-fueled diatribe by saying the economy needed to be rebuilt, despite still relatively low 5 percent unemployment and 4.9 percent gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of 2007.

     “They are having a tough time hanging on to health care,” Obama said “College is less affordable and it’s harder to save and harder to retire. So, we’ve got to rebuild our economy and that means providing tax relief to people who really need it as opposed to the wealthiest Americans and corporations who are exploiting tax loopholes.”

      One of the keys to economic prosperity, according to Obama, is to get the “health care system fixed.” In April 2007, Obama unveiled his health care plan that was estimated to cost between $50 billion to $65 billion a year, financed largely by eliminating the 2001 Bush tax cuts. Obama also told viewers investment in alternative energy and a regulated trade policy were the keys to fix what is ailing the American economy.

     “It means that we get our health care system fixed,” Obama said. “It means we invest energy, alternative energy that can free our dependence from foreign oil and also can create jobs and it means a trade policy that has labor standards, environmental standards and safety standards that serve American workers, and not just Wall Street profits.”

     Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses on January 3 and finished second in the New Hampshire Democratic primary on January 8.