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LinkedIn Town Hall: Man Asks Obama to 'Please Raise My Taxes'

iStockphoto(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- President Obama took a break from his three-day campaign fundraising tour Monday to pitch his $447-billion jobs plan and defend his proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy to reduce the deficit, arguing that everyone is going to have to do their “fair share.”

At the “Putting America Back to Work” LinkedIn town hall in Mountain View, Calif., Obama came face-to-face with his deficit-reduction proposal. “Would you please raise my taxes?” asked Doug Edwards, a former director of consumer marketing and branding at Google, who described himself as “unemployed by choice.”

“I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am,” Edwards said.

“And it kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefitting so many of us for so long.  I think that needs to change, and I hope that you'll stay strong in doing that.”

The question set up the president to explain why he thinks it’s necessary to reform the tax code so that “everybody is doing their fair share.”
“This is not an issue of, Do we somehow try to punish those who've done well?  That's the last thing we want to do.  It's a question of, How can we afford to continue to make the investments that are going to propel America forward?” Obama said in response.

To do so, the president argued for returning to the tax rates of the 1990s. “During that period, the rich got richer, the middle class expanded, people rose out of poverty because everybody was doing well,” Obama said.

“If we don't get our fiscal house in order in a way that is fair and equitable so that everybody feels like they have responsibilities to not only themselves and their family, but also to the country that's given them so much opportunity, we're going to have problems,” Obama said Monday.

The president’s plan to reduce the deficit by more than $2 trillion in new tax increases and entitlement reforms has been met with stern opposition from Republicans who have said the president’s proposals amount to “class warfare.” In response, Obama has publicly drawn a stark contrast between himself and his congressional rivals in an attempt to force Republicans to align with corporations and the rich.

As he has with all of his events to sell his jobs plan, the president concluded the town hall by urging the audience to tell Congress to pass the American Jobs Act. “I need everybody here to be, you know, speaking out on behalf of the things that you care about and the values that made this country great, and to say to folks who you've elected -- say to them:  We expect you to act responsibly, and not act in terms of short-term political interests; act in terms of what's going to be good for all of us over the long term,” he said.

The president will attend seven campaign events during his western swing this week in an effort to raise campaign funds before the close of the quarter on Sept. 30.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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