Leave it to one little proposal to bring out the stupid on both sides of the aisle.
Obama is looking to turn the US economy around within two years, or at least show measurable progress within one, so he can win re-election. This, strictly speaking is not a pipe dream. The economy can turn around in less than two years. And this isn't just me talking, I've seen it happen. It was during the Reagan 80's. Reagan inherited an economy in the toilet. His response was to cut taxes on corporations and the rich. People thought he was nuts. But the strangest thing happened -- the economy got better. Jobs were created. More money circulated. And all because companies no longer had a reason to go outside the US. They could stay here and keep the money instead of juggling it around offshore.
Generally speaking, I don't like taxes. I feel that it is frequently punishing people for being a success. And it's not just the rich. At the convention this weekend, a lot of card dealers were bitching about the tax laws and how much they pay, unaware I was hanging on every word they spoke. None of them are rich, and the amounts they were paying made me wonder why they were bothering. Of course, because they were just small businesses, they don't have access to the tax shelters bigger companies have. The ones who really need it don't have it. My stance is simple -- there are so many pork barrel projects that can get the axe, not only will the deficit be gone, but we can cut taxes for ALL Americans as well. But no one wants to hear that. As Governor William J. LaPetomaine said, "We've got to protect our phony baloney jobs, men!"
I mention this because Obama's plan has failure written all over it. Sure, it's a starting point as he's aware of negotiations and that the R's are going to dig in. But it's going to piss off voters that this is the first proposal instead of something measured that they can rally behind and tell Congress to pass. Make no mistake, this is going to be THE election issue of 2012 because every candidate can tie it into job creation. Obama is in serious trouble. First, there's the economy. The original stimulus measure Obama signed was supposed to create or save 3.5 million jobs. Instead, unemployment jumped by 1.7 million. 'Nuff said. Next, there's his supporters who put him in for "Hope" and "Change" and are not seeing what they thought they'd get. Their disillusionment is running them off. Then, there's the faithful lefties of the D's, who flew into rage when Obama talked about adjusting Social Security down -- Obama's new proposal "will not include any changes to Social Security". And then there's the bullshit from the debt ceiling debate this summer. The deal hammered out calls for a plan to reduce the deficit by November 23, but the Congressional Budget Office wants it sooner than that so they can consider the ramifications of any proposals before that day. Tax reform may be the only portion that gets out of committee. Traditional D's in Congress are not buying the Jobs Act, and the R's are viciously opposed. Hillary Clinton supporters are saying, "I told you so." Worst of all for Obama, though, is that Rahm Emanuel, his chief campaign strategist, is busy as mayor of Chicago now. With a city on the verge of bankruptcy, Rahm can't spare any time for the Chicago Way White House anymore.
Chief of Staff Bill Daley is now coordinating things, and he clearly does not have Rahm's drive or killer instinct. Want proof? Remember Obama's American Jobs Act? Obama sent it to Congress, but no one bothered to introduce the bill. Last week, Louie Gohmert, an R in the House, introduced a bill he calls the American Jobs Act. Obama's bill is 155 pages long, Gohmert's is two. It simply states eliminating the corporate tax. Long story short? The House can no longer said to not support the American Jobs Act. You have to get specific and ask which American Jobs Act they support (the bill still has not been introduced in the Senate yet, so more of this can still happen). Obama's own staff has already started pointing fingers at who isn't watching out for stuff like this. Infighting like this is a very bad sign.
Obama is including what he refers to as the Buffet Provision. Warren Buffet and several other noble narcissists have been in the press saying that the tax laws should be rewritten to make rich people like themselves pay their fair share. They overlook one little detail, though -- nothing is stopping them from paying more in taxes. Seriously. If you want to take a smaller return or even no return, the IRS won't care and will be happy to take any money voluntarily given to them. Buffet, Matt Damon, Michael Moore, and all the rest (and that includes Mr. and Mrs. Obama with their book sales) can give whatever they feel is their fair share any time they want, no one will compel them to do so. But they don't. So, change the tax laws to force them to do something that, if they believe in it so much, they should be doing anyway.
This also sidesteps another important part of this -- tax shelters. Raising the tax on millionaires will only get those who aren't big enough to squirrel the money away globally. Economists looking over the plan based on census data say that it won't even bring in one percent of the money everyone is hoping it will. It's phantom economics. Leave us not forget this whole thing is focused on the short term. When the bills come due, it's future taxpayers that will be stuck with it.
Obama went with the old standby, class warfare. He said if the rich don't start paying more, they will have to cut Medicare. Class warfare is great for talking points and getting the electorate riled up, but it makes poor public policy.
Obama is trying desperately to keep the wheels from falling off his bandwagon, but the bumpy road and lack of focused effort by those riding with him are spelling his doom.