In his big economics speech in Osawatomie, Kan., Tuesday, President Barack Obama asserted, "This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class."
That's not good news for the middle class. What's the big problem facing Americans today? A lack of good jobs or the fact that rich people make more now than rich people used to make?
The president seems to believe the latter. He seems to think that if Democrats raise tax rates on the wealthy, jobs will become fruitful and multiply. Or if they don't, at least he can blame Republicans for not agreeing to his economic package.
"I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their fair share (and) when everyone plays by the same rules," Obama told Osawatomie. But his actions and his words do not mesh.
Fair shot? How much help is a fair shot if the job market isn't improving? With the world's second-highest corporate tax rate, the United States should be more competitive in the global marketplace. Yet the president's answer isn't flatter tax rates that send a positive signal to investors. No, he wants "investments" in education and technology.
In this speech, Obama didn't mention "green jobs," his erstwhile jobs of the future. A June audit found that $500 million slated for training for green jobs in 2009 created a mere 1,336 jobs that lasted six months or longer.
Obama's jobs of the future would be construction workers "rebuilding our roads and our bridges."
Problem: The administration delayed a decision on the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline until 2013. That's what happens when real jobs could cost Obama his job by alienating green voters.
Fair share? In the Kansas speech, Obama extolled Minnesota manufacturer Marvin Windows and Doors for laying off workers only once in 100 years. During tough times, Obama noted, Marvin's unnamed owners shared the pain of reduced compensation with their workers.
So who is Obama's jobs czar? Not the suckers at Marvin. General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt, whose compensation doubled last year as GE was seeking concessions from workers, is Obama's go-to guy on jobs. The New York Times reported that General Electric didn't pay a dime in federal taxes in 2010 -- even though the multinational corporation earned $5.1 billion in U.S. profits.
Obama's other model rich guy is investor Warren Buffett, who frequently complains that his taxes should be higher. Now, Buffett doesn't pay what he says he should pay, but he says he wants to do so, and that's enough. Thus, Buffett is a member in good standing in Obamaland's fellow big-shot club.
Besides, Obama told the audience gathered at Osawatomie High School, under his plan the rich would only have to "contribute a little more."
This administration is dedicated to never telling voters that they have to pay for its agenda. Only the top 1 percent of income earners, who already pay 38 percent of federal income taxes, have to pay for big government -- and then just a skosh more.
Same rules? Please. The Obama way is to talk up fairness while your cronies hire a stable of lawyers and lobbyists to grease the path for favorable tax loopholes. This is where high tax rates come in handy; they create an incentive to cozy up to the administration to win tax incentives for pet training and technology.
That's the problem with Obama's prescription for the middle class. Sure, he wants to create more jobs, as long as all jobs go through Washington.