Obama's tax gambit

How exactly will further taxing the rich improve the economy?

Barack Obama is hoping how he looks covers up how he thinks.

In a dashing but desperate gamble to save his presidency, Mr. Obama is trying to pull off a trick that magician David Copperfield would envy: He wants to convince Americans that the economy is the same thing as the federal bureaucracy.

He wants to improve the economy by raising taxes.

“I believe our prosperity has always come from an economy that’s built on a strong and growing middle class,” he said Monday. “So that’s why I believe it’s time to let the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, folks like myself, to expire.”

Come again? How does raising taxes on some improve the economy for others?

Yet, that’s apparently how he thinks, and how he wants you to think.

Or at least that’s how he’s thinking today. Three years ago, he said it’s a mistake to raise taxes in a down economy.

Which is it, Mr. President?

Well, here’s the answer: Economically, the Barack Obama of three years ago was right. But the Barack Obama of today isn’t thinking so much economically as politically. He wants to look good by taking on those mean-old rich people.

This is not a serious proposal, folks. It’s a cynical election-year tactic.

The numbers alone tell you it’s not serious. As others have reported, raising taxes on the rich would mean $85 billion in revenues, if that – less than nine days’ operating capital for the federal government.

That’s no solution.

Mr. Obama also wants to increase the tax rate on capital gains, which history shows would likely bring in less revenue while it further stalls investment.

In addition, as the Barack Obama of three years ago noted, “The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up, take more demand out of economy. And put businesses in a further halt.”

Just remember when he sings this tired “tax them over there, it will help you” refrain: The federal government is not the American economy. You don’t help the economy by pouring more money down the bureaucratic rat hole; fact is, as Obama admitted in an unguarded moment three years ago, it hurts the economy.

This president is not just trying to bamboozle you into thinking that higher taxes can improve the economy, but he’s also trying to demonize others in order to take attention away from his dismal economic record. The numbers speak for themselves. As columnist Mona Charen noted this week, “June brought the perfect encapsulation of the Obama economy: More Americans signed up for disability benefits than got jobs. According to government statistics, 80,000 Americans found work last month, while 85,000 dropped out of the labor force altogether to collect Social Security disability payments.”

Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to sell a fairy tale last weekend by saying she was “pretty happy” with the nation’s job growth numbers: 80,000 new jobs in June, 69,000 in May. Experts say the economy needs to create 250,000 new jobs to stay even or to have any hope of reducing unemployment.

And speaking of fairy tales, even left-leaning NBC News had to admit that his re-election bus tour “had the president trying to reconcile a tour about economic growth with numbers that point to almost the opposite.”

Moreover, true unemployment is much worse than the official government line. The number most used is 8.2 percent. But the “U6” unemployment rate, which includes those looking for work as well as those who’ve given up, is closer to 15 percent.

So don’t be fooled, as the erstwhile candidate of “hope and change” now brings you “fear and loathing.”

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Sat, 01/21/2017 - 22:00

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