“I want us to bring down our deficits, but I want to do it in a balanced and responsible way,” the president said today at a truck engine manufacturing plant in Michigan.
The president was addressing United Auto Workers members at a plant owned by Daimler AG’s Detroit Diesel unit in Redford, Michigan, yet he was seeking a far broader national audience as he campaigns for tax increases for the nation’s top earners as part of an agreement with congressional leaders to avert automatic tax increases for all and spending cuts set to take effect Jan. 1 if Congress doesn’t act.
In the bargain, Obama promises to protect 98 percent of the nation’s taxpayers from those Bush-era tax cuts set to expire at year’s end.
“America only succeeds and thrives when we’ve got a strong and growing middle class,” Obama said in full campaign mode at the diesel plant. “That idea is what built America. That’s what built Michigan.”
Since 1938, he said, Detroit Diesel has not only been building good engines — it’s also given people an employment that provides them and their families a better life and “a shot at the American dream.”
Daimler today was announcing a new $120-million investment in the plant at Redford, promising 115 new jobs. Obama toured the heavy duty engines line, with Plant Manager and Vice President of Operations Jeff Allen and UAW Northwest Local 163 Detroit Diesel Engine Unit Shop Chairman Mark “Gibby” Gibson leading the way. Obama joked later about wanting to try some of the “cool” machines — talked out of that, he suggested, by the Secret Service.
“I’m sure you’ve all heard the talk lately about some big deadlines we’re facing in a few weeks,” Obama said. “If Congress doesn’t act soon, meaning the next few weeks, starting on Jan. 1, everyone’s going to see their income taxes go up.”
The audience booed on cue.
“We can solve this problem,” Obama said — suggesting that 98 percent of Americans, “and probably 100 percent of you,” won’t see higher taxes if the tax relief approved in 2001 and 2003 is extended for households earning less than $250,000 a year.
“We ask the wealthier Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate — and that’s a principle I won’t compromise on.”