To the editor:
On November 26, I was very excited about being invited to the White House. Forty-five Floridian leaders attended the Florida State Day event. Leaders from a total of twenty states will be invited to the White House before year end to talk about "fiscal cliff" problem.
The purpose of the meeting was to avoid the fiscal cliff by developing a collaborative and innovative middle-out approach to our economy. The fiscal cliff is the crisis coming at the end of the year when all the Bush-era tax cuts expire and the first of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts are triggered.
Our first stop on the trip was the Center for American Progress, where the economic experts explained the fiscal cliff to us. They believe that if our government goes over the fiscal cliff, we would get the required budget savings, but at the same time, it could bring on a recession by squeezing the middle-class financially.
Our next stop was the Eisenhower Building where White House officials talked to us. The President believes there is an urgent need to to preserve current rates for the middle class and to ask the richest 2 percent of Americans to pay a little more. He is encouraging citizens to lobby their Congressional representative to pass the bill that the Senate has already passed to prevent tax increases on the middle-class, those making less than $250,000 a year. Our representative in Congress is Rep. Connie Mack, phone numbers (239) 573-5837 and (202) 225-2536. If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, every American family's taxes will automatically go up. A typical middle-class family of four would see its taxes rise by $2,200 starting in 2013.
Middle-class families can't afford that. That means less money to buy groceries or fill a prescription. It means a tougher choice between paying the rent and paying tuition. And because the middle class is the engine that drives our economy, our businesses can't afford it either.
President Obama is calling on Congress to act on his proposal that would prevent 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small businesses from paying higher taxes next year. Even the millionaires and billionaires won't have their taxes raised on the first $250,000 a year either.
Meanwhile, the President is asking Americans across the country to share what losing $2,200 would mean to them by using the Twitter hashtag #My2k.
I learned a lot in Washington D.C., like how to get around on the subway, but most importantly, how crucial it is to our economy to keep the middle-class tax cut. Although there is wide agreement on this issue, a growing group of Republican house members, such as Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a staunch conservative, think we should pass this bill now. "We should take the 98 percent of taxpayers out of harm's way," Cole said. "I'm not for using the American people for leverage or as a hostage."
Extending the middle tax cut solution will not be a fix-all for the budget, but it will remove the worry from many people as they do their holiday shopping season. If we get this tax cut, the fiscal cliff will be more like a "fiscal curb," but at least the American people will not be held hostage as Congress continues their vital negotiations to balance the budget.