President Barack Obama rarely misses a chance to call on upper-income Americans to pay more taxes.
But his annual budget is doing more to target middle-class taxpayers than any of his previous proposals, calling for caps on deductions, changes in the way some tax benefits are calculated and a big hike in cigarette taxes — all proposals that would make middle-class Americans pay more.
Obama's budget is still being picked apart on Capitol Hill, but his openness to an even wider range of tax increases will frame the coming fiscal debates.
"It's a new paradigm," said Bob Williams, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. "This is the first budget he's presented that has proposed raising taxes on people below the $250,000 thresholds he's maintained over the past five years."