GOP uses campaign tactics of its own ahead of Obama trip
By Kevin Liptak, CNN
(CNN) – President Barack Obama’s trip Friday to a toy factory outside Philadelphia was getting negative reviews from Republicans before he even left town – House Speaker John Boehner accused Obama on Thursday of taking a “victory lap” instead of getting serious about budget negotiations.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the number three House Republican, released a video Friday profiling another small business owner in Pennsylvania who says Obama’s pledge to raise taxes on families making more than $250,000 per year would harm entrepreneurs.
“This notion of $250,000 being the top 2% or the wealthy people in America ignores the way most small businesses work in America,” Jerry Gorski says in the spot. He owns Gorski Engineering, located 15 miles from the toy manufacturing plant where Obama will speak Friday.
“We just went through a horrible climate where our work was off 40%. We had to lay people off. We have trucks that have super high mileage. We have ten-year-old technology for our computers,” Gorski continues in the web video from McCarthy, the Majority Whip.
“We went through every bit of money that we set aside for a rainy day but it’s been a long rainy day,” he continues. “And now our company has figured out how to survive in this economy and how to be successful in this economy and the first thing we want to do with any income I have is tax it? That’s uncertainty.”
McCarthy said in a statement Obama was flying to Pennsylvania “in full campaign mode to make the argument to the American people that tax rate increases are the only solution to our nation’s economic woes.”
“He’s wrong. What our country needs is a boost in economic growth so our job creators, like Jerry Gorski, can start hiring again,” McCarthy said.
A White House official said the trip was meant to highlight a business that “depends on middle class consumers” and would see business decrease if taxes are raised on middle-income Americans.
The dueling messages speak to each side’s goals in negotiating a deal to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff,” which would slash budgets and trigger an increase in taxes at the end of the year. Democrats say taxes must be raised on upper-income earners, while tax breaks for middle class families should be extended. Republicans agree that middle class families should maintain lower tax rates, but disagree that rates should rise for top earners.
The GOP opposition stems from the fact that many small businesses file taxes on an individual return, meaning an increase in taxes for top earners would affect the rates they pay. Republicans also claim the people and businesses earning north of $250,000 are “job creators,” and that raising their tax burden would slow hiring.
During the presidential campaign, Obama pushed back on those arguments, saying “97 percent of small businesses fall under the $250,000 threshold.”
He said in July his tax proposals weren’t about “taxing job creators, this is about helping job creators. I want to give them relief. I want to give those 97 percent a sense of permanence.”
He hammered rival Mitt Romney for using the “small business” argument against higher taxes, saying it was merely an attempt to protect the country’s wealthiest businessmen.
“Under Governor Romney’s definition, there are a whole bunch of millionaires and billionaires who are small businesses,” Obama said at the first presidential debate. “Donald Trump is a small business. Now, I know Donald Trump doesn’t like to think of himself as small anything — but that’s how you define small businesses if you’re getting business income.”