President Obama is planning to gear up for a new election-year tax battle, by asking Congress for a one-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for those earning less than $250,000 a year. Of course, the flip side of that policy means letting the tax cuts expire for everyone making more than $250,000 a year, a subject that has become a contentious rallying point for both Republicans and Democrats. The president plans to make the announcement at a White House event on Monday, surrounded by families that will benefit from the extension.
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Congress extended the tax cuts for everyone back in 2010, helping to set up the so-called "fiscal cliff" that will happen on January 1 if no new deal on federal spending is reached before then. Calling for the one-year extension now is part of a plan to put Republicans on the defensive in the middle of an election-year. If they reject the proposal outright, they appear to be obstructionists who want to tax middle class families to score political points. If they insist on extending on all of the cuts, Democrats will hammer the GOP for putting the interests of rich people ahead of everyone else. It also gives the president a way to respond to Friday's lousy jobs report, by offering some form of relief to the struggling economy.