Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said it would be irresponsible to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and President Barack Obama is “absolutely committed” to letting them expire.
“If the president were to say now, ‘I’m prepared to extend the taxes for the top 2 percent of Americans,’ it’s a deeply irresponsible thing to do fiscally and economically,” Geithner said in an interview today on the “Charlie Rose” show to be broadcast on PBS and Bloomberg Television. “It would hurt our credibility. It would leave us with no capacity to address these long-term fiscal problems.”
Geithner said it wouldn’t be “responsible” to push back deadlines including defense sequestration cuts and said Europe was “burning because of deep concerns about political will.” The cuts are set to occur because talks failed last year on a bipartisan plan to curb the nation’s debt.
Lawmakers remain deadlocked over long-delayed budget decisions including the future of the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts that expire Dec. 31, automatic spending cuts set to take effect in January and raising the government’s debt limit.
House Republicans propose extending the tax cuts for all income levels and cutting food stamps, Medicaid, federal workers’ benefits and other programs to avoid reductions in defense spending. Democrats are balking, threatening to go over the so-called fiscal cliff if Republicans don’t allow tax cuts for top earners to expire.
Geithner also said Obama is “going to stand by” his pledge not to extend the tax cuts. “He is absolutely committed to that.”
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