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Published: Tuesday, 9/20/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Kaptur, Kucinich back minimum tax for rich

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

The two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination from the redrawn 9th Congressional District agreed Monday with President Obama’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy.

And while neither U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) nor U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D., Cleveland) awarded the President a ringing endorsement, they didn’t agree with a Chicago Tribune columnist who called on President Obama to pass up a possible second term.

Miss Kaptur said she’s heard from wealthy people in her district that they are willing to pay more. She said she agrees with the President’s latest proposal, which calls for a minimum tax on incomes starting at $1 million.

“The wealthy people of good conscience are saying we should do that,” Miss Kaptur said. “The Bush administration created $4 trillion of new debt and no new jobs. We’ve got to pay the bills. We have Marines coming home in boxes, soldiers coming home with no limbs. I think for those who have used their talents to become extremely wealthy, it’s time for patriotism. It’s not a time for narrow self-interest.”

Mr. Kucinich did not return a call for comment, but his staff issued a statement to The Blade that the congressman supports President Obama’s call for higher taxes on those who can afford it.

“The entire government has been turned into a machine that takes the wealth of the mass of people and accelerates it into the hands of the few. That’s what our tax system is about. Should those who make more pay more? Yes, but that alone will not solve all our economic problems,” Mr. Kucinich said in the statement.

“Only a serious program of job creation, which puts millions of Americans back to work and gets control of our monetary system at last, will enable the American economy to come back. We also must stop spending money on wars abroad, close our bases, and bring our troops home. That will ultimately save America trillions of dollars,” the statement reads.

Republicans have rejected the President’s call for raising taxes.

House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) said, “This administration’s insistence on raising taxes on job creators and its reluctance to take the steps necessary to strengthen our entitlement programs are the reasons the President and I were not able to reach an agreement previously, and it is evident today that these barriers remain.”

National Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus said, “President Obama’s call for $1.5 trillion in tax increases is a thinly veiled attempt to score political points and foot the bill for his Stimulus 2.0. By raising taxes on job-creators, Obama may win back some support from disgruntled liberal voters, but America will lose even more sorely needed jobs.”

Miss Kaptur and Mr. Kucinich are colleagues in Congress, with Miss Kaptur in the 9th District and Mr. Kucinich in the 10th.

However, the proposed congressional redistricting plan pending in the Ohio Senate would put Miss Kaptur and Mr. Kucinich together in one district to be called the 9th.

Both Democratic lawmakers have said they intend to run for the seat, setting up a likely primary election in 2012.

They had somewhat different responses to a column by Steve Chapman, a member of the Chicago Tribune editorial board, who wrote Sunday that President Obama should bow out of running for a second term and let Hillary Clinton, the current U.S. secretary of state, take his place at the top of the Democratic ticket.

“I checked the Constitution and he is under no compulsion to run for re-election. He can scrap the campaign, bag the fund-raising calls, and never watch another Republican debate as long as he’s willing to vacate the premises by Jan. 20, 2013. That might be the sensible thing to do,” Mr. Chapman wrote.

Mr. Chapman cited the President’s low approval rating, the possibility of a renewed recession, and the fact that Democratic strategist James Carville advised Mr. Obama to “panic.”

Mr. Kucinich, who ran against Mr. Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, issued a one-sentence comment on whether Mr. Obama should step down when his current term ends: “That is up to President Obama.”

Miss Kaptur said the problem with government right now is not Mr. Obama but the Republicans.

In his column, Mr. Chapman said its hard for presidents to win re-election when unemployment is “painfully high.”

And if he wins and the economy sinks back into recession, voters “will decide his middle name is Hoover, not Hussein. Why not leave of his own volition instead of waiting to get the ax?”

Mr. Chapman also argues that most presidents’ second terms are “a bog of frustration, exhaustion, and embarrassment.”

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) and U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) did not respond to requests for comment.

Contact Tom Troy at tomtroy@theblade.com or 419-724-6058.



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