The president seemed to mark his ground during this morning's news conference by declaring that he would not extend tax cuts at upper levels. Republicans in Congress want the Bush tax cuts extended for everyone. How that gets works out will help determine whether the fiscal cliff problem gets resolved. Given the public intransigence by both sides, it's far from a sure bet that a resolution will happen by the time the tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year. From the NYT:
"We should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts on the wealthy," the president declared in an opening statement. Appearing before reporters in the East Room of the White House, he said that "right now, our economy is still recovering from a very deep and damaging crisis, so our top priority has to be jobs and job creation." He reiterated his pledge to push for increasing taxes on the wealthy, but added that an extension of the middle-class tax cuts must go into effect at once. He described two choices on taxes for the lame-duck Congress: either to allow taxes to rise across the board at all income levels, or to pass a bill extending tax cuts for all but those in the highest tax brackets.
By the way, the Dow is down more than 100 points, though the market had been slumping well before the news conference.