REDFORD—President Barack Obama asked manufacturing workers this week if they could afford a $2,000 tax hike—due Dec. 31—unless Congress passes legislation to avoid it. The audience shouted, “No!”
Obama’s policy is that taxes should rise for the top earners, that is, people with incomes above $250,000 per year. House Republicans have opposed that policy, but they may be open to compromise if the president allows steep spending cuts in domestic programs. However, the president and Democratic legislators oppose such cuts. Thus, the two sides appear to be stuck.
The president visited the Daimler Detroit Diesel Plant in Redford, Mich., on Dec. 10. He spoke of the near collapse of the auto industry in 2008.
“Remember, it was just a few years ago that our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. GM, Chrysler were all on the brink of failure. And if they failed, the suppliers and distributors that get their business from those companies, they would have died off, too,” said Obama to the audience in Redford.
He said that he bet on American workers—that they could rescue the ailing industry. “And companies like Daimler know you’re still a smart bet,” he said. “They could have made their investment somewhere else, but they didn’t. And if you ask them whether it was a tough call, they’ll tell you it wasn’t even close.”
“Companies like Daimler know you’re still a smart bet. They could have made their investment somewhere else, but they didn’t.”
—President Barack Obama
The president sharply condemned Michigan’s new right-to-work legislation, which made it optional for people in union workplaces to pay union dues.
“These so-called ‘right to work’ laws, they don’t have to do with economics; they have everything to do with politics,” he said, echoing the union position. “What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”
Speaking of right-to-work legislation, audience member John Freeman said, “I think it is a shame because the purpose of a union is to help give working people some ability to represent themselves so they’re able to get a good wage for a good day’s work.”
Robert Ficano, county executive of Wayne County, Mich., said that the right-to-work bill will “create a toxic atmosphere, we have always had a history here of business and labor working together.”
Rep. Philip Cavanagh (D-Mich.) said that he was glad his district got a presidential visit. He, too, is concerned about the fiscal negotiations, saying, “Federally, we are about to fall off the financial cliff, and he said let’s not let that happen; let’s not raise everyone’s taxes.”
With reporting by Valerie Avore, NTD Television, and Mary Silver.
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