"The other option," according to the president, "is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. And by the way, that means every American, including the wealthiest Americans, get a tax cut. It means that 98 percent of all Americans and 97 percent of all small businesses won't see their taxes go up a single dime."
The president continued to make his case by saying "We should not hold the middle class hostage, while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. We should at least do what we agree on, and that's to keep middle class taxes low."
While the Republicans -- who have signaled a softening position on tax increases for people earning over $250,000 a year -- will no doubt wish to discuss federal budget cuts, or the slowing of federal spending increases as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations, the president made no mention of any spending cuts during the press conference, where questions from the media were mainly focused on the scandal surrounding General Petraeus and the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.
KBW analyst Melissa Roberts on Wednesday said that "there may be increased portfolio repositioning in the coming weeks from retail investors, given the looming expiration of tax cuts impacting both capital gains and dividends," and that "if tax rates rise in 2013, retail investors may opt to realize capital gains in 2012, particularly for stocks with meaningful dividend yields."
Bank of America's shares have now returned 62% year-to-date, following a 58% decline during 2011.
The shares trade for The shares trade for less than 0.7 times their reported Sept. 30 tangible book value of $13.48, and for nine times the consensus 2013 earnings estimate of 97 cents a share. The consensus 2014 EPS estimate is $1.27.
While the fiscal cliff is certainly important to Bank of America, the company has been focused on what it can control, which is building capital, while navigating the storm of mortgage putback demands springing mainly from the activity of Countrywide Financial, before that company was acquired by Bank of America in 2008.