Obama blasts 'Scrooge' Republicans as fiscal cliff looms

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Obama blasts 'Scrooge' Republicans as fiscal cliff looms

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There is little sign of any Christmas goodwill between US Democrats and Republicans as December’s arrival also brings the “fiscal cliff” a step closer.

Visiting a toy factory, President Obama again argued for raising taxes on the well-off while extending tax cuts for the middle class.

He portrayed the Republicans as Scrooges for refusing to strike a deal in Congress.

Without it, automatic tax rises and spending cuts will kick in when existing stimulus measures – brought in under George Bush and extended under Obama – expire in January.

“It’s not acceptable to me, and I don’t think it’s acceptable to you, for just a handful of Republicans in Congress to hold middle class tax cuts hostage simply because they don’t want tax rates on upper income folks to go up,” said the US president.

The leading Republican in Congress accuses Obama of going back on a pledge to cut spending, and claims raising taxes on the rich will hit business.

“This debt doesn’t exist because we don’t tax small businesses enough. It exists because Washington continues to spend too much. Raising taxes on small businesses instead of taking a balanced approach, that also cuts spending, is wrong. It’s only going to make it harder for our economy to grow,” said John Boehner, Speaker of the House of Representatives.

The White House is expected to continue making its case next week. But although the Republicans are also sticking to their guns, some observers are betting on a deal at the eleventh hour.