President Obama’s new plan to advance tax reform is a pretty good one. Despite losing several rounds to the GOP, the President hasn’t given up on tax justice. On the contrary, this time Obama’s fighting the battle for tax reform under the banner of the American Jobs Act. And his savvy approach may pay off if enough of us fall in behind him.
So far Republicans have successfully blocked Obama’s efforts to raise taxes on the rich. They’ve relied on misleading rhetoric like “Let’s stop the spending spree” and “We reject any tax increases on job creators.” And, until now, Republicans have held adequate leverage to force their demands.
For instance, the GOP threatened to kill middle class tax cuts and zap unemployment benefit extensions to force Obama’s hand on extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. Then, Tea Partiers tried to force America into default unless Obama backed down on closing corporate tax loopholes.
However, with the introduction of the American Jobs Act, Obama has reframed the tax reform debate to make it much harder for Republicans to resist concessions. The President has made a very simple case to justify increasing taxes: Federal spending is good if it creates jobs, helps job creators and improves the economy.
In his Sept. 8 Joint Session speech, Obama justified his plan in a way every American can understand:
“We have to ask ourselves: What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs…Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs. Right now, we can’t afford to do both.
This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. This is Simple. Math. These are Real. Choices. These are real choices that we’ve got to make. And I am pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose – it’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future.”
Obama’s using all tools at his disposal to back Republicans into a corner. He’s sounding an urgent alarm on the unemployment crisis and has come up with a justifiable plan to fix it. He’s working aggressively to build support among the People.
A clear majority of Americans support the provisions of the Jobs Act, according to a recent New York Times poll (pg. 20):
- 56% of respondents say creating jobs is a higher priority than cutting government spending.
- 56% support Obama’s proposal to cut payroll taxes for working Americans while 81% approve of cutting payroll taxes for small businesses (Obama’s proposal targets smaller companies by cutting taxes on the first $5 million in payroll and eliminating payroll taxes on the first $50 million businesses spend on hiring workers or increasing wages).
- 52% say it’s a good idea to spend federal money to prevent public sector layoffs (saving the jobs of teachers, police officers, fire fighters).
- 80% say it’s a good idea to create jobs with infrastructure investments.
- 71% say tax increases should be part of an overall deficit reduction plan.
- Nearly 60% want to raise taxes on incomes over $250K/yr (averaging the results of Aug. and Sept. NYT polls). Looking at other polls, the number of Americans in favor of taxing the rich soars to over 70 percent.
One in ten Americans have been out of work for quite a while; thus, there’s no doubt that Americans feel the urgency to create jobs. On this Monday, Sept. 19, Obama will speak at 10:30 AM ET to once again call for increased sacrifice from those who can most afford it as a means of funding the Jobs Act investments. The NYT reported today that Obama will be selling the new tax reform plan as the “Buffett rule,” after billionaire Warren Buffett who famously lamented paying a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.
By first selling his job creation package and then linking the proposal to tax reform, Obama has positioned himself well to defeat Republican obstruction of the jobs bills and to gain ground on the wider battle of tax justice.
Currently only 12% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. If Republicans refuse to fund at least portions of the Jobs Act by closing tax loopholes, the GOP will be seen as insensitive, extremely partisan Job Killers. If the Tea Party chooses once again to go the no-compromise route against the will of the American people, the People will respond and the next election will bring an end to the GOP’s control of the House of Representatives. So, either way, the American Jobs Act is a win-win situation for Obama.
However, without popular support, Obama’s plan will go bust and so will American jobs. Please, be part of the push. Let’s heed the call to join together and support passage of the American Jobs Act and use it as leverage to achieve tax reform.
Step 1: Add your name to the Democratic Party petition to Speaker Boehner in support of the American Jobs Act:
Step 2: Write/Call your members of Congress to express your support for the American Jobs Act. Enter your zip code at the link below to find their phone numbers and contact forms:
Step 3: Pledge to vote on Nov. 6, 2012:
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