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Brown: 'Cliff' worries curtail shopping

By Mike sever | staff writer Published: December 13, 2012 4:00 AM

Are House Speaker John Boehner and the Republicans the Grinch that is stealing Christmas sales?

Sen. Sherrod Brown said he's being told by retailers that uncertainty over next year's tax bite is causing middle-class families to hold back on their holiday spending.

"This uncertainty would just disintegrate if the House of Representatives would simply pass the tax breaks," Brown said Wednesday.

If allowed to expire, the temporary tax break for middle class earners would mean a tax bite up to $2,200 next year, Brown said.

With the holiday season upon us and the economy teetering on the "fiscal cliff" being debated in Washington, Brown said "now is not the time to threaten working class families with a tax increase."

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Brown also said the January "fiscal cliff" won't be an immediate economic disaster.

"It's more a slope than a cliff," he said.

The Obama administration and Republicans are split on how to handle the tax hikes and spending cuts that are due to take effect next year if a deal isn't reached.

Obama wants the Bush-era tax rates to remain at their current level for households earning under $250,000 a year, but wants taxes to increase on those earning more.

Obama's offer is part of an overall deficit reduction plan to increase tax revenue and reduce spending by about $1.5 trillion each over 10 years.

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Congressional Republicans, led by Boehner, don't want to raise taxes on the wealthy, arguing that higher rates would stifle the economy.

Republicans have advocated unspecified changes in the tax code to eliminate tax breaks and loopholes.

Brown said continuing the middle class tax break has to be done before discussion on cleaning up the tax code.

"That's going to come, but that can't be done by the first of the year," Brown said.

His priority is to do the tax breaks first, he said, "and then the negotiations get serious on what we do with corporate taxes and tax rates generally."

Republicans have suggested cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

"There is absolutely no outcry from voters except from some Wall Street analysts to start cutting Medicare and Social Security and especially raising the retirement age," Brown said.

"Seniors don't call Social Security and Medicare an entitlement -- they call it an investment they paid in almost most of them all of their work lives," he said.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1125 or msever@recordpub.com

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anonymous Dec 13, 2012 2:58 PM

I would like to see a functional govt and four year term limits!!

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 12:40 PM

@ Lancer: It isn't the Government, It's the people in the Government. Those in the Government *and their mouthpieces* have a percentage in polarization. ... At one time there were Liberal Republicans and Conservative Democrats, but now everyone is forced into one box or the other and if one refuses to be forced into a box that person is seen as afraid to take sides. ... I like many really haven't changed over the years, and years ago I could have been a LibRep or a ConDem, but the political spectrum has slid so far to the right I'm painted a Liberal. And this is because of the Neo Con which is now known as the Tea Bagger. But good news, with Armey fleeing the Baggers and taking $8 mil with him, and the defection of DeMint, the Bagger seems to be road kill. Good thing about the Baggers being road kill is we may get some actual functioning Conservatism back into the Government.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 12:00 PM

We need new leadership, I can't stand republicans or democrats. Time for a new govt to emerge.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 10:24 AM

Republicans just going to have to accept they lost, Spectacularly! And they are not in the position to dictate terms. But then the Republican is too COWARDLY to actually say what their terms are, how they would raise revenue or what programs they would cut, because they don't want to be held responsible. Notice I haven't mentioned the Tea Bagger? The Bagger is falling apart. Good Riddance. ;)

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 10:13 AM

You know, this whole Fiscal thing wouldn't be a concern if the Republican accepts the reality that they LOST, and simply extend the Bush Tax Cuts for the Middle Class and let those cuts expire on the 2%. Republicans were instrumental in setting up this situation, I suspect because the possibility of Obama being reelected was nowhere in the Republicans Reality. Reality and the Republican, not much to do with each other.

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 10:06 AM

Geez AMT, except for what is obviously Sherrod Brown's opinion it's all factual, no lies. I guess you're still getting your "News" from Faux and Limpy, you see how well that worked for you people on the 6th of November when your "News" sources got you blind sided from the left. About the Union Workers all being thugs because of that one worker, remember the Republican who said 'legitimate rape doesn't result in pregnancy'? I guess since that Republican has proven himself an idiot ALL Republicans are Idiots .... Right?

anonymous Dec 13, 2012 5:53 AM

More outrageous lies on the front page of the Record Courier. Obama and the Democrats could end the fiscal cliff today by extending the Bush tax cuts, just as they did a year ago. And the Record Courier refuses to publish the violence Democrat union thugs perpetrate in Michigan, punching people exercising their free speech right, and destroying the tent and hot dog supplies of a black man while he was feeding them, calling him racial slurs all the while. What if Tea Party members had done that? The Record-Courier would blast the news for a month on the front page. Instead, they print outright lies from Sherrod Brown.