Oh? Although there are a number of independent think tanks who suggest that capping deductions and closing loopholes can, in fact, raise a trillion dollars, the idea that taxing the wealthy will get us there also, er, tends not to work.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, letting tax rates rise to Clinton-era levels for families making more than $250,000 a year would raise a mere $824 billion. Over ten years. As Conn Carroll explained in the Washington Examiner, that’s not enough revenue to cover the spending cuts in the sequester, effectively reducing the deficit by $0. Math.
The third item relates to Obama’s seeming Romnesia about his own campaign, which spent months upon months drawing deep trenches between the candidates that made the 2012 election seem like a choice between civilization and the Visigoths. The differences included their views on women (one hated them, apparently); their views on minorities (one hated them, apparently); their views on immigrants (one hated them, apparently); their views on the elderly (one hated them, apparently); and, well, you get the idea. For post-election Obama, it seems that the election boiled that hearty, rhetorical soup down to vapors. The thick identity politics bouillabaisse that defined the campaign has vanished into a faint wisp.
Now, we are to believe the campaign was singularly about a mandate to raise taxes on the wealthy. As Obama put it, “if there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more.”
That was the “one thing” we should take away from the past year of campaigning? For an election that was supposed to be about the economy, we sure did spend a lot of time talking about everything else.
The final trouble spot illuminated by Obama’s presser came when the President attempted to make his lustiest defense of raising taxes on the wealthy. “The majority of voters agreed with me, by the way – more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”
Essentially, the message wasn’t “this economic policy will work best to reduce the deficit,” but “this is the economic policy you asked for.”
He’s not wrong. Polling found that taxing the wealthy is popular. But if this is how Obama 2.0 will work, well, this is excellent news. Because if the new mantra is “ask and you shall receive” I have full confidence that the new administration will also deliver on all the other desires expressed by the electorate, including those voters who didn’t pull the lever for Obama.
Desires for things like a balanced budget, reducing the size of government and comprehensive tax reform - all of which a majority in this country want. Forty-nine percent of voters on election day said they wanted to repeal parts or all of Obamacare, compared to 44% who wanted to keep it untouched. I assume he’ll see to that request. Poll after poll also finds that most people favor immigration laws that are well-enforced, and that controlling the border is more important than amnesty. Most people support entitlement reforms like means-testing for Medicare and Social Security and raising the Social Security retirement age. If Obama’s second term is merely based on wish fulfillment, we’ll have our center-right country back in no time.
In between David Petraeus and Susan Rice, President Obama managed to lay out his economic vision for the country. And it’s one in which the government decides how much you need, math has a personality, class warfare is a high priority, and our economic policy will be based on popularity and not efficacy. It doesn’t matter much now, because we’re stuck with whatever happens. At least this time we know what’s coming.