President Obama’s proposal to give middle class and working class Americans a tax break has the GOP on the defensive. The president plans to pay for the tax cuts, by raising the capital gains tax to 28 percent on households making over half a million dollars annually. That rate is the same rate that the capital gains tax was during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.
President Obama plans to present his populist tax proposals on Tuesday during his State of the Union Address. The plan includes a series of tax breaks for low and middle-income families, while raising $320 billion in tax revenue from wealthy individuals and large financial institutions.
Republicans in Congress are balking at the measures, but the proposals enjoy support with rank-and-file Republican voters. 36 percent of Republicans favor raising the personal tax rate for millionaires. However, that percentage jumps to 53 percent, if Republicans are asked whether they support raising the income tax on those earning over a million dollars a year to 50 percent, “the same rate taxed under President Reagan.” While the impetus for a more populist tax policy is being driven the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic Party, the tax increases simply restore Reagan era tax rates.
Republicans in Congress quickly pledged their allegiance to the wealthy, by criticizing Obama’s plan. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) complained that, “raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful.” A spokesman for Congressman Paul Ryan dismissed Obama’s plan as “not a serious proposal”. By aligning with the rich, Republicans risk alienating a large segment of the American people, including many self-identified Republicans. With Obama’s approval ratings on the rise, as he continues to move away from overcautious centrist complacency to bold left-center action, it is now the GOP that must struggle to establish an identity that average Americans can relate to.
With the richest one percent slated to hold over half the world’s wealth by 2016, Obama’s mildly redistributive tax proposals couldn’t come at a better time. Even the politically tone-deaf Mitt Romney is trying to reinvent himself as a poverty-fighting populist as he gears up for another presidential bid. Of course, unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney has not outlined how he plans to fight poverty, but his 2015 rhetoric is a far cry more populist than his 2012 broadsides against “class-envy” and the supposedly parasitic 47 percent. Still, his newfound populism will be a tough sell for voters as long as his car still rides in an elevator at home.
In the political chess game between the White House and Congress, Obama’s new tax proposals are smart politics. Insofar as they will benefit middle-class families and the working poor, they also make for good policy. Republicans in Congress are eager to fight everything Obama suggests, making it unlikely that they will latch onto his middle-class tax breaks. They almost certainly will not support raising taxes on the rich to help average working Americans.
Many rank-and-file Republicans might also resist any proposal put forth by Barack Obama. However, the middle and lower-income Republicans who can do the math, will find that the tax cuts help them. As America’s economic resurgence continues, spreading the benefits to regular Americans only makes sense. Congressional Republicans who stand in the way will once again demonstrate that their loyalty is confined to the ultra-wealthy. Their commitment to cutting taxes is reserved for helping out the moneyed class, while they have no problem giving ordinary Americans the shaft.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.
17 Replies to “Obama’s Tax Plan Forces Republicans To Choose Main Street Or Wall Street”
I realize that this may seem unduly airey fairey.
But… It is it possible that this tax plan might catalyze a political realignment such that “Reagan Democrats” return to the Democratic Party?
I’d welcome any thoughtful comments.
Each time the members of the TP/GOP refuse to pass needed legislation to help the USA. They show that they do not care for the USA. The people that voted for them could of accomplished the same thing by supporting numerous foreign Terrorist groups. For the TP/GOP Domestic Terrorist legislation has done more harm to the USA. Thousands upon thousands have died from their anti-American policies.
Clearly, President Obama is smart enough to play the long game.
None of these latest positions could have have been defended before being a Lame Duck.
Thankfully, he is briiliantly using his “lame duck” status to move the Left to te left…where it should be.
The republicans are barking up the wrong tree if they oppose what President Obama proposing.
Polling is showing the majority of the country support raising taxes on the very wealthy, people aren’t that stupid, they know it’s not fair that the wealthy have prospered mightily since the recession.
I do have to take issue about people being that stupid. They stayed home and didn’t vote. That was extremely stupid.
Income of the richest 1% has risen 271% since 1960. They need to pay more taxes not evade paying them or hiding their income in another country.
Enough of this trickle down bs.
Springtime in DC…
Long in coming.
Sweet on the political breeze.
I am optimistic again.
How stupid is Rubio? Of course taxing the rich will help the struggling…it will give them the break they need (and have needed for years) Trickle-down has only benefitted the offspring of the rich!!! Trickle down has been in place during all the years that the so-called job creators have been sending American jobs to third world countries, and China!!! Huge FAIL!!! Except, of course, for the ones who have been getting the tax breaks.
I’ve been thinking about your question and actually something like that could happen.
It’s not easy to change a way of thinking and give up long held beliefs, but it does happen. I used to be a republican a long time ago.
The only thing the republicans have is massive propanda, they brainwash their voters with lies.
The Republicans have, for many years, exploited the perception of the American Dream by putting forward the idea that anyone can achieve the lofty heights of financial success if they just work hard enough, thus making tax cuts for the wealthy attractive to those who aren’t “quite there yet”; the real travesty though is that they, whilst declaring the nation as being the land of opportunity, do everything in their power to deny those who are not already in their club any opportunity to climb the ranks of social mobility by way of opposing welfare for the needy and veterans, opposing progrmas that may aid in social mobility, opposing raising minimum wage, defunding social spending and aid. It’s devious and cruel, and it’s a shame so many people vote for them out of habit or a mistaken perception they want to improve the lot of working Americans and help them fulfil the American Dream, when in reality they want to create an oligarchy where everyone knows their place…
The Koch boys won’t like this..and certain members of the GOP OWE Koch..what to do??? Lol..can’t wait, get the popcorn and wine ready!
As a secular person with an affinity for the spiritual and for the Jesus of “The Sermon on the Mount”, I beg for the day when the world’s new, sentient Pope will speak in the bi-chamber of the USA Capitol. I also hope fervently that teas that don’t have a clue what decency is will crowd around the big-screen tvs to hear perhaps the shock of their lives.
THIS IS MY NAME. i TAKE IT YOU DON’T LIKE MY COMMENTS?
No I dont like all caps.
You need to understand that “the people” are not the GOP’s constituency. They are only an unruly, uninformed mob that needs to be dealt with during an election cycle, and then ignored. “The people” are easily manipulated to vote against themselves by playing on fear and racism. Once the votes are counted, the real constituents-lobbyists and the very wealthy-are in complete control of the agenda. Lip service only needs to be paid to the great unwashed, you know, throw them a bone. “Repeal Obamacare,” “Muslim dictator,” repeal Roe v Wade, Benghazi, IRS, Ebola blah de blah de blah. Smoke and lies. The FOX crowd is easily distracted, and too enraged to even notice how they’re being used while their rights are quashed, their lifestyles destroyed and their environment raped. These fools deserve what they vote for, but they’re dragging the rest of us down with them, and I can’t forgive that.
Hold onto you hats people. The President is about to give The State Of The Union address asking for the wealthy to pay their fair share in order to give tax cuts to the middle class and the Pope wants to address Congress. This may be an interesting year.
The Republicans will claim that they are helping Main St by Choosing Wall St. But we all know that they will chose Wall St because they only care about Wall St.
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