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FACTBOX-Obama, Republican offer competing economic plans

Sept 8 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republican Leader John Boehner on Wednesday offered competing plans to boost the lackluster economy, setting the stage for an intense debate over tax and spending policies as campaigning for Nov. 2 congressional elections heats up.

Here is a comparison of those competing proposals:

EXPIRING TAX CUTS

Former President George W. Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire at the end of the year and income tax rates revert back to pre-2001 levels.

* Obama wants to permanently extend tax cuts for middle-income people -- couples earning less than $250,000 and individuals earning less than $200,000. For people in higher income categories, Bush tax cuts would expire as scheduled under current law.

Democrats argue that continuing middle-class tax cuts will help shore up consumer spending, while tax cuts for the wealthy add little to overall economic demand.

* Boehner wants to extend all the Bush tax cuts, including those for the wealthy, for at least two years.

Republicans argue allowing tax cuts to expire for upper income people will hurt small business owners and discourage hiring.

GOVERNMENT SPENDING AND ADDITIONAL TAX BREAKS

* Obama is calling for creation of a $50 billion infrastructure investment bank that would expand federal spending on highways, roads, bridges and other transportation systems. Obama argues it will help create new jobs.

* Obama also called for allowing businesses to accelerate their tax write offs of new capital investments and for a permanent extension of the popular research and development tax credit. This is something Republicans have supported in the past.

* Boehner is calling for a cut in non-defense government discretionary spending to bring spending next year to 2008 levels. He argues it would save taxpayers $100 billion next year. He also says the $814 billion economic stimulus enacted last year hurt U.S. economic growth.

* Democrats say moving too quickly to impose austerity measures would slow economic growth even further.

* Republicans counter that businesses would step up demand and hiring with less government taxation and spending. (Reporting by Donna Smith in Washington; Editing by Jerry Norton)

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