Back in mid-April linking to a quote from our 42nd vice president, James Taranto quipped, “Obama wants to raise taxes. So does Mondale. Obama won’t tell you. Mondale just did.” A month and half later, on the day that unemployment “unexpectedly” jumped back over nine percent, Obama makes it official, handing his opponent next year a nice gift: “Obama Won’t Extend Bush Tax Cuts Again: Pledge To House Dems:”
In a meeting with House Democrats on Thursday, President Obama stressed that his administration would draw a firm line on taxes and revenues both in the deficit- and debt-reduction debates and in the buildup to the 2012 elections.According to multiple meeting attendees, the president reiterated on several occasions that a deal to raise the country’s debt ceiling would include revenue increases, even as Republican lawmakers insist that such a deal should be restricted to spending cuts and entitlement reforms.
“I’ve been very clear about revenues as a part of a balanced package, and I will continue to be,” said Obama.
Underscoring his commitment, Obama noted taxes would be a defining area of contrast with Republicans on the campaign trail. He insisted that he would not compromise again on his position that the tax rates for the top earners be raised to pre-Bush levels.
“‘Whatever we agree on, we are still going to have plenty to argue about in 2012,'” a senior administration official said, paraphrasing the president. “‘I’ve said I’m not going to renew the tax cuts for the top two percent. We might agree on tax reform or simplification, but on the upper-income tax cuts we are just going to have to agree to disagree.'”
And yet, at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey writes “‘Soak the rich’ losing popularity:”
Redistributionist policies will always appeal to those who see themselves as outsiders to economic success. One might expect that the terrible economy of the last three years would have boosted the popularity of Barack Obama’s populist agenda, but it seems the opposite has occurred. Americans know that job creation comes from private investors taking risks with their wealth in order to create even more wealth, and not from government confiscation of wealth to create new bureaucracies that create nothing but red tape. We have spent the last two years watching what happens when government takes wealth out of the economy, and the results — chronically high unemployment, bad housing markets, and a falling dollar that brings high fuel and food prices — are no longer dim reminders of the 1970s, but our current environment.
Of course, there’s always “the nuclear option” on the economy — but it’s an idea so wild, so off the beaten path, that he dare not push the button:
On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics will release its nonfarm payroll report which includes government jobs in addition to private job data. With state and local governments juggling to balance their budgets, government employment is expected to shrink as they lay off workers.
The public has become increasingly skeptical of public stimulus spending, which means that the government is, mercifully, running out of its preferred policy means of spurring the economy.
From here on out, Obama has only two options left to address the job creation crisis:
- Cut taxes across the board
- Suspended regulations that stifle business
Of course Obama will do neither of those things. His party would go nuclear if he did. So, instead he’ll go play golf.
The most relevant question you can ask the president today is: “How’s that back swing?”