In July 2011, President Obama warned House Majority Leader Eric Cantor that he would pressure Republicans to compromise and make a deal by "going to the American people" in order to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff, and he's doing just that.
The White House (with more than 3 million Twitter followers) and Obama (with 23.9 million followers) created a trending topic on Twitter today by promoting the #My2K hashtag to rally support for the president's call for legislation before the year-end fiscal cliff deadline for former president George W. Bush's tax cuts package.
Obama is stepping up his effort to get Americans to lobby their elected representatives to pass the middle class tax cuts, personalizing the message with "My 2K" as a reference to the $2,000 (well, $2,200) that may be coming out of their pockets: "If Congress fails to act before the end of the year, every American family’s taxes will automatically go up. A typical middle-class family of four would see its taxes rise by $2,200 starting in 2013."
While appealing directly to consumers, the White House is also pointing to the impact on the economy and businesses if those consumers tighten their belts even further as a result of higher taxes, citing new research from National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers:
Today, as we move into the holiday shopping season, the National Economic Council and the Council of Economic Advisers released a report called The Middle-Class Tax Cuts’ Impact on Consumer Spending and Retailers. This report provides new analysis on the impact to retailers and consumer spending if Congress fails to act to avoid taxes going up on 98 percent of Americans at the end of the year. If Congress doesn't act, middle-class families will see their income taxes go up on January 1st. The typical middle-class family will see their taxes go up by $2,200 next year, negatively impacting businesses and retailers across the nation. The President has called on Congress to take action and stop holding the middle class and our economy hostage over a disagreement on tax cuts for households with incomes over $250,000 per year.
It's the latest example of how this administration is leveraging social media — as Obama so deftly used during his re-election campaign, which culminated in this past November 6th Election Day becoming the most-tweeted-about event in U.S. political history, and @barackobama posting the most retweeted tweet ever: the "Four more years" victory tweet with a photo of Barack and Michelle Obama hugging. As far as #My2K as a Tiwtter hashtag brand, while the punning reference to "Y2K" may be lost on millennials who were too young to remember the Millennium Bug computer panic, the hashtag is short and sweet and personalizes the fiscal cliff debate, a topic that still mystifies many.
Like many hashtag campaigns, it has (naturally) been co-opted by Obama's critics, it's by no means a hashtag fail. Naturally, the Republic party is out with their own Twitter virtual townhall today with GOP House members, using the #AskRSC hashtag to rebut the White House campaign.