Treasurer Wayne Swan believes re-elected US President Barack Obama has a clear mandate to solve the fiscal cliff problem in a way which protects the most vulnerable.
Mr Swan, who received mixed responses for a speech in September in which he described elements of the US Republican Party as `cranks and crazies', will tell a union conference on Friday that the president's mandate should ensure the top two per cent of America's wealthiest pay their fair share.
"This is not just a political argument. It's also an economic argument," he will tell the National Union of Workers event in Sydney.
Financial markets are jittery over whether the fiscal cliff issue - automatic spending cuts and the unwinding of tax cuts at the turn of the year - will be resolved quickly.
The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has warned that if the matter is not resolved it could tip the US economy into recession, with serious consequences for the global recovery, including Australia and the Asia region.
CBO director Doug Elmendorf, whom Mr Swan met on his recent trip to Washington, has calculated that extending most expiring tax cuts for everyone except for the most wealthy would boost US economic growth by around 1.25 per cent by the end of 2013.
Extending the same tax cuts to the top two per cent would add only 0.25 per cent to growth because the wealthy can afford to save the extra income.
"So it's not just an issue of fairness, it's simple maths," Mr Swan says in his prepared speech, obtained by AAP.
He says it is imperative that the US Congress work constructively with President Obama to avoid the worst of the fiscal cliff and agree on a credible plan for fiscal sustainability over the medium term.
"We've seen all too clearly in Europe the high price to be paid when governments delay the politically tough decisions in favour of the easier populist path," he says.
Mr Swan will also tell the conference that the new Chinese leadership will be under no illusions that substantial reform will be required if China is to continue its impressive growth performance in the years ahead.
He also believes the G20, a grouping that Australia will host in 2014, is the central forum to provide strong global leadership.
Australia will join the troika overseeing the group's activities from next month, along with Mexico, this year's G20 host, and Russia, the 2013 host.
"We will take this opportunity to ensure that lifting growth and delivering jobs is the G20's top priority," he said.