Obama Makes Election Year Call for Higher Tax Rates

US President Barack Obama called Saturday for higher tax rates on wealthy Americans, saying the current system of tax breaks for top income earners was unfair.

"Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

He pointed out that under the current system people like billionaire investor Warren Buffett or Microsoft founder Bill Gates were paying a lower rate than their secretaries.

"That's not fair. It doesn't make any sense," Obama said. "Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates - people who don't need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure? Because we can't afford to do both."

The comments came as Congress prepares to consider a proposal that would increase tax rates for people making more than $1 million a year while keeping them unchanged for those making under $250,000 a year.

Obama urged Americans to call their members of Congress and ask them to support the bill.

"Call them up, write them a lette, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don't need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work," he said.

"That's how we'll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger."

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