I said on Twitter the other day that Barack Obama’s new tax hike proposals weren’t designed to pass, or even embarrass the Right (they won’t): he made them in order to keep the Left off of his back. Alas, nobody noticed or cared enough to push back; but if somebody had done so I would have noted that ‘higher taxes’ is the Democrats’ great white whale. They always chase it, obsess over it really – and never seem to notice that everybody else looks at them funny over it.
And it’s not exactly difficult to counter the rhetoric. Case in point: from a Hill article on the GOP response to the aforementioned tax hikes.
“It’s not surprising to see the president call for tax hikes, but now he’s asking Congress to reverse bipartisan tax relief that he signed into law,” said Don Stewart, deputy chief of staff to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
Stewart said that “Republicans believe we should simplify America’s outdated tax code; that tax filing should be easier for you, not just those with fancy accountants; and that tax reform should create jobs for families, not the [Internal Revenue Service].”
(Via @Amuk3) Those three rules there are pretty good, actually. Simplifying the tax code is a popular notion that has the added virtue of being popular for a really good reason (we need to). Tax filing is going to be one those fun first-quarter issues this year, thanks to Obamacare’s effect on refund calculations. And the IRS is… not particularly beloved, these days.
The ironic thing in all of this is that Barack Obama would get more of a long-term benefit from obeying his usual instincts and putting his own personal welfare over the desires of his party*. If President Obama went to the GOP and made a deal on tax simplification he’d look like a bipartisan demigod and he’d get to take credit for the resulting economic upturn. His base would hate it, of course: but then, his base rather irrationally hates the idea of removing any tax anywhere, any time, and for any reason. More importantly: the Democratic base is starting to feel the strain from constantly defending the antics of a President who consistently (and with a smirk) ignores the Democratic base’s, for lack of a better word, principles. Barack Obama’s gotta give them something, in other words. Apparently the President thinks that an empty promise of tax hikes is the equivalent of a good belly rub…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*John Podhoretz notes many of the same things I do, with a particular emphasis on how the President is absolutely indifferent to the damage his policies have done to the Democrats. Which is great, except that at some point we need the Democrats to recover as a party, before all of our states turn into the Northeast because there’s no credible opposition and our politicians get flabby. It won’t happen tomorrow or anything, but it’s a real problem nonetheless.