Democrats Beg President To Define What 'Rich' Means

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Do you consider yourself to be middle class?

President Barack Obama hit the road Wednesday talking about taxes, and defending a plan that will mean a smaller paycheck for people who aren’t exactly rich.

CBS 2 political reporter Marcia Kramer reports that plan could hit the tri-state area very hard.

With the November elections approaching and fear of possible Democratic losses, President Obama gave an impassioned speech Wednesday about providing permanent tax cuts for the middle class.

“We should not hold middle class tax cuts hostage any longer,” the president said.

The president wants low and middle class families to keep the so-called Bush tax cuts, but he wants taxes to go up for individuals making more than $200,000 and two-earner married couples making more than $250,000.

But the plan will dramatically affect people living in the metropolitan area where wages are higher because the cost of living is higher. The Obama plan means:

* An extra $2,100 in taxes for the family here making $250,000

* An extra $4,441 for a family at the $300,000 level

* And $7,388 in extra taxes for those making $500,000

* If you make $1 million your tax bill goes up $51,389, according to the Manhattan Institute

Members of the president’s own party say he’s dead wrong and needs to dramatically increase his definition of “middle class” before he sends IRS agents knocking.

“Two-hundred fifty thousand sounds like a lot of money but for a couple of working households in New York, you know, before taxes, that’s not exactly rich. I think it should be higher, maybe something in the magnitude of a million dollars and that still gives plenty of money,” said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens).

“I’ve introduced legislation to vary income tax brackets according to the cost of living in a locality to make things more fare,” added Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan).

Republican Congressman Peter King said President Obama’s idea is terrible for our area.

“It’s going to hurt investments. It’s going to cut back on jobs. It’s going to hurt sales tax revenue here in the state. It’s absolutely devastating,” King said.

“The idea of raising taxes on anybody is a rather horrifying prospect in this kind of on economy,” added resident William Doyle.

“Part of the country is … they don’t have a job and going down the tubes and so now he’s just taking money from those who have, you know, it’s a ridiculous way to do things,” said James Goree of Washington Heights.

“I understand it and I support him, but I’m not sure about that because I’m thinking about how it’s going to affect my family,” said Debbie Raymer of the Upper West Side.

What’s clear about the president’s tax plan is that there’s going to be a big debate in Washington. What’s unclear is whether he can get the votes to pass it.

The president also wants tax breaks to let businesses write off 100 percent of spending on new investments and equipment during all of next year.