Obama holds ground on cliff

Barack Obama held his ground on the "fiscal cliff" yesterday, insisting on higher tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, while Republicans showed increasing disarray over how far they should go to compromise with Obama's demands. With less than a month left to confront the budget cuts and tax increases that will begin taking effect in January unless Congress acts, Obama dangled the possibility of lowering tax rates as part of a broad US tax code revamp in 2013. But he insisted that tax rates for the wealthiest two per cent of taxpayers must rise by the end of the year to avert the assorted measures known as the fiscal cliff. His comments came as senior Republicans hit out at Congress speaker John Boehner.