By Robert Schlesinger |
America's unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for the last three years. The federal government has run trillion dollar plus deficits those last three years as well. And polls consistently show that Americans are most concerned with those two issues: creating jobs and getting the budget deficit under control.
Yet this week, President Obama made a major policy proposal based not on creating jobs or cutting the deficit. The president instead proposed a "Buffett rule" policy which is not a serious policy initiative designed to solve an actual problem, but is the worst type of political ploy.
What does the president's proposal do? The Associated Press said it best—that President Obama was "picking an election-year fight with congressional Republicans." With more the economy in the doldrums for three years, 13 million Americans out of work and the country on an unsustainable path of deficits and debt, the president is most concerned about picking a fight with Republicans.
But America needs a president who can solve problems, not pick fights and create more Washington drama.
Proving the policy was really just a ploy, the premise behind Obama's proposal has been thoroughly debunked. According to an AP analysis of Obama's proposal, households making over $1 million pay on average 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, while those making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay on average 15 percent. Wealthier Americans are already paying a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes, and contribute disproportionately to federal revenues. The problem Obama is talking about is not a real issue.
Secondly, Obama's proposal does nothing to help solve the real problems America faces with our debt crisis. Estimates suggest it would only raise $4.7 billion dollars per year, less than 0.4 percent of 2011's deficit. Not only is it a nonissue, but fixing the non-issue doesn't raise any real money for the government.
Worst: We found out on Friday that the President himself pays a lower percentage in federal taxes than his own secretary.
In the end, this isn't a proposal to solve the jobs crisis or pay off the debt. This is an election year political ploy designed by Obama to pick a fight. And Americans aren't buying it.
Not only is Obama's proposal a crass political ploy, but it's a hypocritical one at that. Rarely does a presidential proposal fail as quickly, or as dramatically, as Mr. Obama's so called Buffett rule.
About Jonathan Collegio Communications Director for American Crossroads
Jason Fichtner Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Chuck Collins Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies
Alan D. Viard Resident Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute
Chuck Marr Director of Federal Tax Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities