It’s time for the annual State of the Union Address, and as is customary, word is already leaking about what President Obama intends to say.
Evidently, he will propose . . . drumroll please . . . taxing the rich.
We can almost guess the exact words he’ll use. It should go something like this, “If only those Americans who can afford it could pay just a little bit more in taxes, we could do [insert entitlement] for the American people.”
This is exactly how the capital gains tax already went from 15% to 23.8% since Obama took office. Now he wants to raise it to 28%. Granted, with Republicans controlling both houses of Congress, this isn’t likely to happen, but Obama can use this occasion to stir the passions of people who believe that all our country’s ills could be solved if we simply taxed the rich just a little bit more.
There must be a template in the National Archives for a Democrat president’s State of the Union Address that they drag out of the vault and carry down Pennsylvania Avenue each year. Each Democrat president says the same thing. Raise taxes. Likely, there is also a place in the template where a laundry list of spending proposals can be inserted.
Coming up with a fresh idea, even one, might help boost the State of the Union ratings a bit. Since we all know that’s never really going to happen, nor are any of the things the president will announce tonight for that matter, viewership is likely to remain the same. Only those citizens who are under some mistaken belief that there is a regulatory requirement to tune in (and who can blame them the way things are going) actually will take the time to listen.
Let’s start with something quite basic.
Taxing the rich is not the answer to all America’s problems. If you don’t believe me, ask my son who is a freshman in college.
Now college is anything but a bastion of conservative thought, so when a kid comes home and shares something he learned that utterly flies in the face of everything liberals hold quite dear then we should assume that there is actually something to it.
That’s what happened last fall when my son came home from his Macroeconomics class to tell us something his professor said that absolutely stunned the class.
He told them that taxing the rich really doesn’t do anything . . . gasp. . . positive for the economy. Rather, it’s just something that sounds good to people because it seems like it would do a lot and it won’t really affect them personally. If you think that perhaps my son heard it wrong, he made an A in the class (as his mother I just wanted to throw this in).
So tonight, as you listen (if you do—remember it’s not mandatory—yet), ignore all that tax increase talk that won’t happen anyway and is simply a verbal smack at Republicans. Instead, listen for any suggestions that might actually make a real difference to middle class families. For example, how does the president intend to really reduce the burden of the middle class in sending their kids to college by helping to drive down the cost of a college education (his actual proposal overall will likely do the opposite) or making health care more affordable? Many middle income citizens tonight will be looking for ways to pay back the subsidies they received under ObamaCare or will want to know how they can truly afford health insurance. Finally, what proposals will actually help foster increases in wages and economic growth that provides new jobs for all those people who aren’t included in the unemployment rate simply because they gave up looking long ago?
Likely, you won’t hear answers to any of these questions which probably leaves you to the usual State of the Union viewing activities if you still choose to tune in—watching Joe Biden make goofy facial expressions and seeing if John Boehner’s spray tanning salon did right by him for this special occasion.