Former Google employee Doug Edwards asked President Barack Obama to raise his taxes at a town hall meeting in California Monday, prompting applause from the somewhat startled audience at the LinkedIn event at Mountain View's Computer History Center.
"Would you please raise my taxes?” Edwards asked Obama.
"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. 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," Edwards continued.
Obama, who recently called for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to, according to administration officials, ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, told Edwards, a major Democratic donor:
"We all benefited somewhere from somebody making an investment in us," he said. "If we make those investments how do we pay for it?"
Obama has been engaged in a war of words with Republicans, who described his plan as class warfare, even before he officially announced it almost a week ago.
"Class warfare will simply divide this country more. It will attack job creators, divide people and it doesn't grow the economy," said Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who also added on Fox News, "Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics."
The president responded by insisting that "this is not class warfare - it's math," as he presented his plan to reporters in the White House Rose Garden last week.
The White House has pointed to an ABC/Washington Post poll in July which showed that 72 percent of those surveyed supported raising taxes on people with incomes of more than $250,000 a year to help reduce the national debt, while 55 percent supported it strongly.