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Lame-duck Congress to confront agenda of competing demands
Others, including Mr. Marron and Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, see it differently, saying that raising taxes on high-income earners in this fragile political and economic environment is a gamble.
Mr. Zandi told The Times that the safest bet for the president and Congress is to quickly pass a yearlong extension of all the tax cuts and then to gradually phase them out over the next two fiscal years.
“The logic for extending them for at least a year is that the recovery is very fragile, and if the tax cuts are to expire for everyone, I think we would likely [have a] double-dip” recession, Mr. Zandi said. “Even if the tax cuts for upper-income individuals are to cease, as the president has proposed, I think it would be taking a chance.”
The White House on Wednesday showed some signs of moving in that direction after Mr. Obama’s senior adviser reportedly suggested his boss might be willing to accept a temporary extension if that ensured the middle-class tax cuts were protected.
Mr. Zandi also said that if Republican lawmakers are serious about getting the country’s fiscal ship in order, they should get away from the idea of keeping taxes for the wealthy at the current rate indefinitely.
“I think spending restraint is more important than tax increases, but nonetheless allowing the tax rates to revert back to where they were once the economy is off and running would be appropriate, given our fiscal issues,” he said. “I think it would go a long — or at least partial — way to addressing the fiscal problem”
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