Again -- AGAIN -- this rotten President is trying to do non-rotten stuff. In fact, his latest tax proposal is pretty damned great
Obama's State of the Union, you see, will call for $320 billion of new taxes on rentiers, their heirs, and the big banks to pay for $175 billion of tax credits that will reward work. In other words, it's fighting a two-front war against a Piketty-style oligarchy where today's hedge funders become tomorrow's trust funders. First, it's trying to slow the seemingly endless accumulation of wealth among the top 1, and really the top 0.1, no actually the top 0.001, percent by raising capital gains taxes on them while they're living and raising them on their heirs when they're dead. And second, it's trying to help the middle help itself by subsidizing work, child care, and education.
This proposal has one big problem: Congress is in the hands of Republicans, who will allow no such thing. But the proposal is still worthwhile, for the following reasons:
1. For years, we've all been screaming at Obama that he has to stand for something. This is it. This is precisely what Democrats everywhere should stand for.
2. Every presidential election year, the most popular thing a candidate can say is: "I think we should raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and lower taxes on the middle class." Obama now has put the Republicans in a position where they have to say -- explicitly -- "No, let's not
take that course of action."
In the NYT, Neil Irwin says much the same thing
The White House will surely be accused of class warfare, of pitting the interests of the affluent directly against the working class. But if other Democrats (particularly the party’s nominee for president in 2016) seize on this basic framework, of higher taxes on capital in exchange for lower taxes on labor, it will help offer a clear vision of what the Democratic Party stands for after the Obama years.
Look, I know that some of you come here for red meat O-hatred, and you really don't want to hear anything else. I sympathize. I really do. But honesty dictates giving Obama credit when due. Criticism of Obama lacks all impact if it devolves into mindless automatic gainsaying.
Mr. Obama, now you must turn to foreign policy. Allow me to write your next speech:
My fellow Americans, we are very sorry for lying our asses off about Assad being responsible for that sarin attack in 2013. Turns out it was the rebels. We've been so intent on getting rid of Assad that we supported ISIS and Nusra and a bunch of other creeps. No more. As of right now, we are going to give all possible help to Bashar Assad so he can crush these Islamic fundamentalists once and for all.
Also, we apologize for fomenting a coup in Ukraine, thereby bringing a bunch of neo-Nazis to power. We are joining forces with Vladimir Putin to bring some semblance of reason and justice back to that part of the world.
Finally, Israel. You know what? Fuck Israel. I'm giving Netanyahu three months to arrange real peace talks with the Palestinians. My preferred solution would be a one-state, "one man, one vote" arrangement. But if the Palestinians prefer a two-state solution, that's their decision. They have been shat on for so long, it should be their turn to call the shots. And if the Israelis don't like it, they can tell it to the fuckin' Marines, baby.