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Obama again urges middle-class tax cuts

KATE GIBSON, MarketWatch • Nov 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM

NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner on Saturday repeated their willingness to work for a bipartisan agreement to avert the automatic spending cuts and tax increases slated to begin early next year.

If the U.S. is serious about reducing the deficit, "we have to combine spending cuts with revenue -- and that means asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes," Obama said in his weekly address, reiterating a stance made often during his re-election campaign.

Calling on Congress to pass the middle-class tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans, the president said since both parties agree on it, there's no reason to wait.

Delivering the weekly Republican address, Boehner, an Ohio Republican, congratulated Obama on his re-election and voiced support for a bipartisan effort to avert the "fiscal cliff," but stressed "shoring up the entitlement program" that Boehner termed the primary driver of the nation's increasing deficit.

Obama, Boehner, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., plan to meet at the White House Friday.

If Congress doesn't act by the end of the year, $607 billion in mandatory cuts and tax increases are scheduled to take effect, beginning in January.

"The fiscal cliff does have some virtues -- it forces a compromise. Both sides have a compelling interest in avoiding mutually assured destruction," David Kelly, chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, said in a telephone interview Friday. "Politicians like to be popular," he added.

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