Obama takes tax plan to Facebook billionaires

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 19, 2011 5:09 PM

By Peter Henderson

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - President Barack Obama may face a tough audience when he brings his tax-hike-for- billionaires message to Facebook on Wednesday -- Silicon Valley is full of the sort of people the president wants to pay more tax.

National debt is a major concern, particularly after the rating agency Standard & Poor's threatened to downgrade the U.S. credit rating, and Obama has set a goal of cutting the deficit by $4 trillion within 12 years or less.

Obama now plans to touring the nation to tout his plan, including ending tax cuts for those making more than $250,000.

"If we're asking people who are going to see potentially fewer services in their neighborhoods to make a little sacrifice, then we can ask millionaires and billionaires to make a little sacrifice," he told Virginia students on Tuesday.

He will get to make that pitch to the 19th wealthiest person in the United States, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who is worth a cool $13.5 billion, Forbes calculates.

Obama will host a Webcast meeting on the economy from Facebook headquarters on Wednesday afternoon.

Business is booming in the tech capital, including at Facebook, the social networking site in a bidding war for talent with the likes of Google and Twitter.

The Silicon Valley economy is recovering from the recession, adding more than 12,000 jobs last year, according to Joint Venture: Silicon Valley. The top shops are in a fight for top talent, as well, say recruiters.

"The war is still very, very hot and very, very hard," said Al Delattre, global managing director for the technology industry at executive placement group Korn/Ferry. As companies make the move to mobile and social networking, competition for senior executives has ratcheted up.

Those people at the top work very hard, argues David Nosal, who runs his own recruiting firm in San Francisco.

"So the harder I work, the more you want to take?" said Nosal, who himself would be affected by the proposal.

"They have to figure out a way to incentivize people who are not working as hard to work harder," he said. "I think (Obama's) going to get a bit of that and should get a bit of that from the people he's going to meet with in the Valley."

(Reporting by Peter Henderson and Alexei Oreskovic)