Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- If you boil down President Obama's fatally foolish scheme to fix the economic mess he's put us in, it comes down to raising taxes on everybody.

His tax plans would hit struggling small businesses, the largest job-creator in our country; investment capital that is the mother's milk of a prosperous economy; and millions of ordinary middle class Americans -- because businesses pass their costs on to the consumer. Even the costs of Obamacare.

Obama has spent most of the past four years trying to raise taxes on all of us, an obsessive far-left crusade that's been blocked at almost every turn by the Republicans in Congress.

But depending upon what happens in the 2012 election, he could raise everyone's taxes at the end of the year by doing nothing. That's when President George W. Bush's across-the-board income tax cuts are due to expire.

Mitt Romney, just like former President Bill Clinton, wants them extended until Congress has a chance to rework the job-killing, loophole-ridden, inefficient tax code in order to bring in more revenue while reducing tax rates. That's the very plan Obama's deficit-cutting commission recommended, too -- the one that he shelved and has ridiculed ever since.

But if Obama's re-elected to a second term, the White House says he will veto any bill to preserve the Bush tax cuts in a weakening economy. That would raise the top income tax rate to nearly 40 percent, which would further weaken a chronically sluggish, sub-par economy. What that means is simply this:

The 10 percent tax rate for low-income earners would revert to 15 percent. The 25 percent tax rate would rise to 28 percent. The 28 percent rate would jump to 36 percent. And the 35 percent top rate would leap to 39.6 percent.

But that's not all. The "marriage penalty" correction on two-earner couples would expire, too, pushing their tax bills up to the point where filing singly would be cheaper.

The per-child tax credit Bush doubled would fall from $1,000 to $500, and the 15 percent federal tax rate on dividends, short- and long-term capital gains would rise to at least 20 percent -- possibly higher under the president's proposed investment tax-surcharge on wealthy Americans.

Obama's radical, class-warfare crusade to raise capital gains and dividend tax rates on investors would not only hurt our economy, but also millions of ordinary retirees who live off the income from stock and capital gain dividends built up over their working careers.

Republicans blocked Obama's anti-growth tax hikes in the House and Senate, but he's still trying.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.