Obama Reduces Tax-Increase Demand

President now asks for $1.4 trln in tax hikes, down from $1.6 trln.

President Barack Obama reduced his demand for tax increases to $1.4 trillion from $1.6 trillion as he and House Speaker John Boehner traded another round of offers and inched toward a budget agreement.

The two sides remain hundreds of billions of dollars apart on taxes and spending, and they continue to disagree on whether a year-end deal should include an increase in the debt limit and fresh programs to boost the economy. Obama and Boehner spoke by telephone yesterday, according to a Republican congressional aide and an administration official.

Difficult Choices

Sixty-five percent of Americans say Obama’s Nov. 6 election victory gave him a mandate on his proposal to raise tax rates on top earners, according to a Bloomberg National Poll of 1,000 adults conducted Dec. 7-10.

Treasury Yield

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed 0.7 percent to 1,427.84 at market close in New York yesterday, after rallying as much as 1.1 percent earlier. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 78.56 points, or 0.6 percent, to 13,248.44.

Rank-and-File Lawmakers

Because Obama and Boehner are their party’s effective leaders, their endorsement of any agreement will carry weight with rank-and-file lawmakers.

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