President Barack Obama today pledged only to sign a "fiscal cliff" deal that includes tax hikes on the 2 percent.
"[T]he only way to get the kind of revenue for a balanced deficit reduction plan is to make sure that we’re also modestly increasing rates for people who can afford it -- folks like me," Obama said at a private residence in Northern Virginia, where he visited to rally support in the "fiscal cliff" talks with Congress. "For folks who are in the top 2 percent, we can afford to have a modest rate increase. That allows us to not only reduce our deficit in a balanced, responsible way, it also allows us to make investments in education, in making college affordable, in putting folks back to work, and investing in basic research that’s important for our economy."
Obama continued: "And I think we all recognize that there are some smart cuts we’ve got to make in government. We’re going to have to strengthen our entitlement programs so that they’re there for future generations. Everybody is going to have to share in some sacrifice, but it starts with folks who are in the best position to sacrifice, who are in the best position to do a little bit more to step up. And that’s what my plan does."
Then Obama made his pledge: "So just to be clear, I’m not going to sign any package that somehow prevents the top rate from going up for folks at the top 2 percent. But I do remain optimistic that we can get something done that is good for families like this one’s and that is good for the American economy."