Donald Lambro

But that's not the only pro-growth initiative he has been blocking. Congress's tax-writing committees have been at work since 2011 on overhauling our costly, dysfunctional tax code that is also hurting our economy, slowing down job creation, and making us less competitive in global markets.    

House Republicans, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan, were expected to lay out their plan Wednesday. It would simplify the tax code by slashing its seven tax brackets down to two: 10 percent for lower income workers and 25 percent for the top rate.      

The plan would be revenue neutral because it calls for eliminating a number of tax loopholes and exemptions that now litter the tax code.      

This is what the co-chairmen of Obama's deficit-cutting commission proposed in his first term in a report that the White House has ignored ever since.      

But the idea took hold in Congress where Camp and his Senate Democratic counterpart, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, were working together on a tax reduction bill.      

But as their work was bearing fruit, Baucus decided he would retire from the Senate at the end of of his term. Still, it appeared a deal between the two was possible. That is, until Obama suddenly offered Baucus the prestigious post of ambassador to China, getting rid of one of tax reforms' most enthusiastic supporters.      

It certainly wasn't because Obama decided that Baucus was head and shoulders the most qualified candidate for the post. Indeed, Baucus said at his nomination hearings that he knew next to nothing about China.      

The timing of Obama's offer to Baucus raised eyebrows in and out of Congress since it meant that any possibility of tax reform was dead in the Senate for this year. That's because the chairmanship of Baucus' committee fell to liberal Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon who has since focused on other issues that he considers higher priority.      

It's unclear whether House GOP leaders will take up tax reform this year, though they haven't ruled out doing so in the months to come. Congressional reformers think that if Speaker Boehner puts it on a fast track, it would send a powerful political signal to voters that the GOP is serious about a pro-growth initiative that would strengthen our economy and put Americans back to work.      

And where's Obama in all of this? The Washington Post wrote Tuesday that "the White House continues to show little interest in a comprehensive tax overhaul."      

The newspaper went on to say that "administration officials have dismissed reform of the individual code, saying it would be mathematically impossible to lower the top rate paid by the wealthy, protect the middle class and achieve Democrats' goal of raising fresh cash to shrink chronic budget deficits."    

This was to a large extent what critics said of President Kennedy's across-the-board income tax cuts: They would worsen the deficits, endanger middle class programs, and benefit the rich. But in the end, his tax cuts led to business expansion, created jobs and it didn't worsen the deficit. By the end of 1960s, we had a budget surplus.      

Obama says he wants to lift the middle class as well as those below the poverty income line, but he's opposed to pro-growth, pro-job policies to do that. Instead, he and his party have become the champions of a jobless, minimum wage economy.      

What a contrast in economic policymaking. Kennedy defended his tax cuts for all incomes by saying, "A rising tide lifts all boats," while Obama and the Democrats say raising the minimum wage is the best we can do.


Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.