WASHINGTON (Reuters) - House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants a vote before November elections on whether to extend tax cuts for those with annual income over $250,000 a year, she said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“The tax cuts for the wealthiest ... (with income of) $250,000 and above, were the Bush initiative,” Pelosi said on ABC’s “This Week,” referring to former President George W. Bush.
“I don’t see any reason why we should renew a tax cut that only gives a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America, increases the deficit, and doesn’t create jobs,” Pelosi said. “That doesn’t make any sense.”
Asked directly whether she would push for a House vote before the November 2 election on whether to extend tax cuts for the middle class while letting those for wealthier citizens expire, Pelosi replied, “It would be my hope.”
She said nearly $300 billion in economic stimulus funds were middle class tax cuts.
“The Republicans want to have the tax cuts and they want it unpaid for, $700 billion added to the deficit for an initiative that does not create jobs,” Pelosi said.
In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the federal government should simply allow the Bush tax cuts to expire.
“I’m very much in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money,” he said. “And the problem that we’ve come to in recent years is spending programs are funded with borrowed money, tax cuts with borrowed money. At the end of the day that proves disastrous.”
When asked if he agrees with Republicans who say that tax cuts pay for themselves, Greenspan, who led the U.S. central bank for nearly 20 years, simply said: “They do not.”
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told “Meet the Press” that he believes the tax cuts should continue “for another couple of years.”
Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, appearing alongside Bloomberg and Greenspan, said the cuts should be phased out but the plan for doing so should be decided after the Congressional elections in order to lessen political battles between the parties.
A MODEST RECOVERY OR A QUASI-RECESSION?
Bloomberg said that the economy was in a state of paralysis because workers, corporate leaders, small business owners and political figures all feel great uncertainty.
Greenspan described the current state of the U.S. economy as a “pause in our recovery, a modest recovery, but a pause in a modest recovery feels like a quasi-recession.”
While there are signs that the U.S. economy is pulling out of the recession that began in 2007, the country’s unemployment rate continues to brush up against the double digits. It was 9.5 percent in June and analysts polled by Reuters expect government data to be released on Friday to show the rate inched up to 9.6 percent in July.
Greenspan said he expects the unemployment rate to maintain that high level until the end of the year.
Bloomberg said the recession has touched all Americans.
“If they haven’t lost their job, they know someone who has,” he said.
President Barack Obama has spent the last week trying to show how his government has helped the economy recover. The Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board recently said the $862 billion economic stimulus plan Obama pushed through Congress within a month of taking office saved or created 755,454 jobs from last April through June.
“When I look back on what we’ve accomplished in the last 18 months — preventing the country sinking into a Great Depression, stabilizing the financial market, saving the U.S. auto industry, oh and by the way, passing healthcare, I’d say that’s a pretty good track record,” Obama said on Sunday in an interview with CBS. “But until the unemployment rate is down and the economy is where it needs to be, I’m not going to be satisfied.”
Editing by Sandra Maler