President Barack Obama used an afternoon press conference to present himself as the tax-cutting champion of “middle-class Americans.”

“Now’s not the time to slam on the breaks, now’s the time to step on the gas,” he said in a Monday appearance at the White House press room, where he was flanked by two television screens showing a countdown to the Jan. 1 expiration of the current temporary cut in Social Security taxes.

Most Republicans and GOP leaders are willing to extend the temporary reduction in payroll taxes, despite its impact on the Social Security fund, which is already spending more than it is receiving in taxes.

The president’s initial plan for extending the tax cut would have cut revenue into the Social Security fund by $265 billion.

A revised bill being prepared by Senate Democrats would cut tax revenue by $180 billion.

Both bills would stimulate the 2012 economy by the amount of money they cut from annual taxes.


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