WASHINGTON -- Once again Barack Obama proposes to raise job-killing taxes on a weakening economy, one that has all but stopped growing under his 1930s-style policies.
It's been a confused presidency whose policies have zigged and zagged more times than the stock market. Obama can't seem to decide what his policy should be, changing its direction and its prescriptions from one year to the next.
Or, more aptly, from one political strategy to another as his job approval polls continue to plunge.
He came into office on a crusade to repeal George W. Bush's tax cuts for upper-income Americans, though not the former president's middle-class and low-income tax cuts. But as the economy worsened under his spending stimulus plan and unemployment rose, he gave in to GOP pleas at the end of last year that this was no time to raise taxes on an economy struggling to get back on its feet.
He changed course reluctantly, agreeing to temporarily extend all the Bush tax cuts -- but only after Republicans toppled the Democrats from majority control in the House, reduced their numbers in the Senate, and were coming after Obama to stop his big spending binge.
The president was driving the government deeper into debt and proposing even higher spending, until the GOP threatened to block the debt ceiling increase if he did not agree to major budget reductions.
The battle raged for months until Obama blinked again, agreeing to $1 trillion in spending cuts and another $1.5 trillion in savings to be worked out by a joint House and Senate panel this year.
In the meantime, the economy worsened, the base of his party became dispirited and disappointed with his presidency, and polls revealed an erosion of support among his most die-hard allies, including minorities who suffered from the highest unemployment rates in the country.
Now, with his overall job approval polls sinking further in recent days to between 39 percent and 40 percent, and fresh signs the economy could fall into another recession, Obama has come forth with his answer to spending cuts, soaring debt and a declining economy: raise taxes.
There wasn't anything dramatically new in his tax plan. He offered it before in 2009 -- when many Democrats shied away from it. It again calls for repealing the Bush tax cuts for higher-income taxpayers and raising the present 35 percent top tax rate to nearly 40 percent.
Notably, income earners in and above that range are small-business people, the source of most of the jobs in our country. They are struggling to stay alive in this economy, and higher taxes would drive them and the jobs they create out of business.
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