You know, you just know, that after the president goes out there and announces he wants to make community college free for all Americans — as though anything government does is “free” — or is unilaterally and unconstitutionally legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants, he comes back to the offices, pulls out the presidential BlackBerry, and gleefully follows along as the Right goes completely ape over these wild policy decisions.
Imagine his delight after it “leaked” that he will propose raising taxes on the wealthy by $320 billion over the next 10 years, including increases to the capital gains and inheritance taxes.
This, of course, has no chance of passing. But then Tuesday night’s State of the Union address could be the first one in history deliberately designed solely to generate a Pavlovian rage response in members of the opposing party.
At tomorrow night’s State Of The Union addresss, the President will unveil his new plan to raise taxes on high income earners, high net worth investors and financial institutions with over $50 billion in assets. The general idea will be to hike the taxes on capital gains up to 28% for households earning over $500,000 per year (they’ve already been hiked from 15% to 23% by this administration) and to eliminate the trust loophole on large estates. The new revenues would be used to support the middle class with an additional child tax credit and to make community college free for people who cannot afford it.
Of course, most of this is never going to happen now that the GOP controls congress and Obama’s presided over a historic cleansing of Democratic politicians at the state level.
So is the whole thing just trolling – a proposal meant to generate massive outrage from the right? Podhoretz thinks so, but I doubt it. Rather, I’d guess that this is about one more attempt to even the scales after six years of huge and widening inequality between the upper ten percent of American income earners and everyone else. It was the basic idea that Obama’s first campaign was based on and, years later, it remains his biggest abject failure. It’s quite ironic that President Obama’s two terms have seen the biggest gap in economic equality in almost a hundred years. I don’t think he wants to leave without one last fight for the cause.