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BOCA RATON, FL (RNN) - President Barack Obama touted his controversial tax plan on Tuesday as an answer to the economic crisis during a "make or break time" for the middle class.
Dubbed "the Buffett Rule," Obama's tax plan would close loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans to pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes.
"Can we succeed as a nation where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well, but a growing number of people are struggling to get by?" he asked. "Or are we better off when everybody gets a shot? And everybody does their fair share?"
Congress is expected to vote on the plan next week, but Obama has faced criticism from Republicans for the plan. Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget Paul Ryan, R-WI, has called the plan "class warfare," while Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus told POLITICO that it was a "gimmick."
However, poll numbers from Gallup suggest that Americans may be more inclined to go for the plan than Republican leaders. Numbers from 2011 show that nearly six in 10 Americans think upper-income earners pay too little in taxes.
According to a report from the White House's National Economic Council, nearly 25 percent of millionaires pay less than 1.5 million taxpayers who make between $100,000 and $250,000, making the average tax rate for the highest-income Americans nearly the lowest in half a century. The 400 richest people, who all make more than $110 million, paid just 18 percent of their income in taxes in 2008.
The Buffett Rule was proposed in 2011 as an effort to narrow the growing gap between the richest and the poorest Americans.
"Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class," Obama said, highlighting the difference between his plan and GOP "trickle-down" models.
Obama highlighted the potential uses for those extra funds, including education and clean energy programs.