This tired old theme is the usual Democrat campaign tactic of trying to pit one class against another and win some voters in battleground states where polls show a close contest between Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It all comes into perspective when you consider that raising the taxes back to pre-Bush levels on those earning above $250,000 would finance the federal government for about eight days.
Obama made no bones about the tax-cut rerun being tied to the election. He said Congress should approve the extension so “the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy” could be debated before the election. The results of the voting would then decide whether the cuts for the higher income earners would be eliminated or restored. He made clear that’s what he wants to make the focus of the contest between him and Romney, the idea being to paint the Republican as defender of tax cuts for the wealthy.
But the old ploy isn’t exactly setting the woods afire so far. Some leading Democrats have parted company with their president on this issue. Former President Bill Clinton, for one, has said the economy is actually in a recession and therefore Congress should extend all the tax cuts which will expire at the end of this year. Then after his remarks aired, Clinton walked backward, saying the wealthiest shouldn’t get an extension of the tax cuts. Translation: party loyalty trumps good sense.
Likewise, another Democrat heavyweight, Lawrence Summers, previously a top Obama economic adviser, said the tax cuts should be extended temporarily. Ditto for two retiring Senate Democrats, Jim Webb of Virginia and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Several other Senate Democrats have indicated they, too, might support a temporary extension of all the cuts.
All this plays right into the hands of Romney and his fellow Republicans who are having a field day pointing out that Obama’s soak-the-rich rerun comes on the heels of the worst employment figures in two years with nearly half a million fewer Americans employed than when Obama took office.
This time the anti-wealthy campaign may not work. After all, people are catching on to the fact that it makes no sense to raise taxes in a recession — as Obama himself has said before his latest class warfare foray.