Barack Obama Needs to Cut Taxes as He Promised

Cutting taxes wouldn't be just smart politics but would be good government.

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Fired up! Ready to go! Cut taxes!

One would think that Barack Obama's vow to cut middle-class taxes is one of two inviolable promises he made in the campaign.

(The other being a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq.)

But the ballots were not all counted before the big spenders in Washington—in temporary league with deficit hawks—have started grumbling about the wisdom and necessity of cutting taxes.

There are no signs of wavering in Obama HQ in Chicago. But should the members of the president-elect's economic policy team have any doubts that he needs to move quickly to fulfill his tax-cutting pledge, they should look to the Maryland suburbs, where liberal constituencies, with conviction, approved two antitax ballot questions Tuesday.

In Prince George's County, home to one of the nation's largest middle-class black communities, the voters killed a proposed new telecommunications tax by a stunning 71 to 29 percent.

And next door, in wealthy Montgomery County—a bastion of good government liberals who are justly proud of their excellent public school system—the voters passed a measure to make it more difficult for their elected representatives to raise property taxes.

Let it be noted that these same suburban voters, on the same day they were signifying their opposition to new taxes, gave Obama 71 percent of the vote in Montgomery County and 89 percent of the vote in Prince George's County.

If the Montgomery results approving Question B still stand after some 50,000 absentee and provisional ballots are counted, the local government will need a unanimous vote by the county council to raise the local property tax.

The measure passed despite the opposition of many liberals, goo-goo types, and newspaper editorial writers, who called it a hasty and gimmicky response to the funding crunch now facing local and state governments. These are the same forces urging Obama to fudge on his campaign pledge to cut taxes for 95 percent of working families.

Obama needs to ignore their whispers. In this case, a bold and Reaganesque tax cut is not just popular politics but good government as well.

The new administration has to stoke the economy—a tax cut will do so.

Obama promised to seek bipartisan solutions—Republicans love tax cuts.

The Democrats want to address the growing inequality in wealth in America—cutting working-class taxes will help.

Obama stands for faith and hope in government—not broken campaign promises.

Yes, we've piled up a ton of debt for our kids. And, yes, at some point huge budget deficits will themselves be drags on the economy. I'm all for pay-go and cutting earmarks.

But now is the time to juice the amazing American job-making machine and plan (and hope) for a day when it's humming—when we can use the proceeds of robust growth to address our longer-term economic issues.

  • Click here to read more by John Aloysius Farrell.
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