President Obama will offer middle class workers a bunch of tax goodies — paid for by the rich — in his State of the Union address Tuesday, signaling he will not work with Congress on tax reform.
After Democrats took a beating in the midterm elections, Obama indicated corporate tax reform as an area where he and Congress might get something done. But his actual proposal consists of a list of tax breaks for the middle class paid for by tax hikes on the wealthy, further complicating the tax code and disregarding corporate reform.
“To take his plan at face value is to join in a pretend game,” anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “This isn’t a bill. It’s not going to pass. It’s not real.”
Obama will promise a slew of handouts that will not materialize, including a $500 credit for two-earner families, a dramatically expanded child care tax credit, a permanent and expanded earned income tax credit and two years of free community college — all paid for by tax hikes on the upper class.
The White House boasted the plan will raise taxes almost exclusively on the top 1 percent of earners, by upping the capital gains rate, changing the way inherited assets are taxed and leveraging a fee on investments from big firms.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged the president to challenge Republicans with “truly serious, realistic reforms” in his address Tuesday, but said the president’s record so far is “discouraging.”
“The American people aren’t demanding talking point proposals designed to excite the base but not designed to pass,” McConnell said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “What they said they are hungry for is substance and accomplishment.”
Although Obama’s plan does incorporate some Republican ideas, such as the fee on financial investments, it’s obviously opposed to a Republican agenda and won’t happen in the next two years.
It does mark the beginning of a renewed debate on tax reform.
House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan is expected to lead the way on a Republican plan to simplify the tax code. Obama’s apparent unwillingness to work with Republicans could give Ryan the freedom to propose a comprehensive overhaul of the individual and corporate tax code, rather than a narrow plan calculated to win Obama’s signature.
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