googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: No Surprises There

Thursday, September 8, 2011

No Surprises There

I would like to brag and say that I called it in advance. Instead, I'll say that the reports I heard in advance of Obama's speech had it right. There weren't any surprises in tonight's speech. Just to be clear – there weren't any surprises in the “job creating” proposals Obama gave and neither were there any surprises in the political rhetoric we've come to expect.

The payroll tax cut was there as expected. Did anyone pay attention to the careful wording the President used to describe it? To wit, “Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year.” Wow! Talk about spin. Let me translate that for those of you who don't understand Obama-speak. Congress has already passed a payroll tax “holiday” that has been in effect all this year. The average worker will save about $1,500 this year. Let me ask, what has this done to help create jobs? Unemployment still towers at around 9.5%. Anyway, the “holiday” is about to expire and next year our taxes were going back to normal – that is, we would have to pay an extra $1,500 in taxes next year. Obama's proposal is to simply extend the “holiday” another year. The so called “tax cut” next year is that you won't have to spend $1,500 more in taxes after all! See? It's spin. And this $1,500 “tax cut” that hasn't created jobs this year is supposed to create jobs next year. Yeah, right.

Another “non-surprise” was the temporary nature of the plan. Again, a one time tax incentive given to an employer to hire is not going to help the employer pay the employee's salary next year. Instead, employers worry about the other parts of Obama's speech. They are concerned, for example, when Obama talks disparagingly about how “affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets.” In other words, “we going to give you a small tax break now but we're going to stick you with higher taxes later.” Obama said this overtly when he said, And I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that [pay higher taxes], if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.” The simple fact of the matter is that raising taxes on anyone doesn't help grow the economy or create jobs. Anytime you hear a Democrat talk about “wealthy Americans and CEOs”, just remind yourself they are talking about “employers.” It is absurd to think that taxing job creators creates jobs.

Consider this quote from the speech: “Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers?” In logic, this is known as a false dichotomy. Has it not occurred to Mr. Obama that oil companies also hire workers? Obama believes he can create jobs by giving one time tax breaks to small (and sometimes struggling) businesses and imposing permanent tax burdens on more established businesses like oil companies.

The President also said, “We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share.” Let me say again: taxes do not create jobs. Never. It's counter productive to talk about raising taxes in a speech aimed at creating jobs. But besides that, please explain to me how everybody pays their fair share when nearly 1/2 of the people pay no income tax at all. There's a common expression that talks about having skin in the game. More Americans might be concerned about the out of control spending going on in Washington if more Americans had to pay for it. As it stands now, 1/2 of the country is enjoying the tune while the other 1/2 is paying the piper.

Finally, Mr. Obama played to his base on more than a few occasions. He mentioned spending more money for teachers no fewer than six times. He talked about modernizing or renovating public school buildings four times. He mentioned a favorite, liberal pet project – namely public transit. He even mentioned how his plan to renovate schools is supported by “America's largest labor organization.”

Oh, I almost forgot – Mr. Obama also proposed extending unemployment benefits for another year. On top of the 99 weeks already available, that means people can get paid nearly three years for not working. I'm going to be talking about unemployment benefits again in an upcoming post.

Like I said, no surprises here. It's all more of the same. Class warfare. Taxing the rich. Increased spending. More government handouts. It's all present and accounted for. The only surprise I could confess to is that he didn't blame Bush for it all.

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