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Tax Reform And The Middle Class47:21
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The president will propose new taxes on the very wealthy and tax breaks for the middle class. We’ll lay out the plan and the pushback.

This Jan. 9, 2015, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking at Pellissippi State Community College, in Knoxville, Tenn. President Obama is turning to his biggest television audience of the year to pitch tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and put the new Republican Congress in the position of defending top income earners over the middle class. (AP)
This Jan. 9, 2015, file photo shows President Barack Obama speaking at Pellissippi State Community College, in Knoxville, Tenn. President Obama is turning to his biggest television audience of the year to pitch tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and put the new Republican Congress in the position of defending top income earners over the middle class. (AP)

They say it’s a non-starter.  They say it’s a negotiating ploy on bigger tax reform.  Republican critics say it’s a jobs-killer and class warfare move.  A Robin Hood tax to take from the rich and give to the poor – or the middle class, anyway.  But let’s step back for a minute and just consider what the President is proposing in his State of the Union speech tonight.  A bump up in taxes on the wealthy and big banks.  And a raft of better breaks for middle class Americans.  After years of middle class stagnation and soaring wealth at the top, is that wrong?  Would it work for the whole economy? This hour On Point:  the Robin Hood tax proposal.
-- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. (@hboushey)
Jason Fichtner, senior research fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center. (@jjfichtner)
David Wessel, director of the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy at the Brookings Institution. Contributing  correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. Author of "Central Banking After the Great Recession." (@davidmwessel)
Ron Fournier, national columnist and editorial director at the National Journal. (@ron_fournier)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Tax Plan Likely to Stir Up Long-Simmering Debate — "At a minimum, the plan represents President Barack Obama’s opening bid to congressional Republicans in a potential negotiation over a comprehensive rewrite of the tax code, including the rules for individual taxpayers. Sharply negative reactions from GOP lawmakers suggested it is unlikely that many of Mr. Obama’s ideas would become law in the current GOP-run Congress."

Washington Post: Republicans befuddled by Obama plan to cut middle-class taxes — "While Obama does want to provide new funds to make community college free to anyone who wants it, most of his proposals in this round use the tax code to help people of modest means, which is exactly what Republicans usually suggest when they’re forced to come up with an idea to help the poor or middle class."

National Journal: One Empty Suit, One Empty Agenda — "Obamawants Congress to raises taxes on the wealthy by $320 billion over the next 10 years to pay for new program aimed at the lower- and middle-class families, a plan the White House public relations team calls 'middle-class economics.' Obama knows it won't pass Congress, but that's not the point for him. The president's singular mission is to frame the 2016 election in a way the hurts Republicans and helps his legacy. (On the flip side, the GOP strategy for 2016 is to pass wedge-issue bills they know Obama won't sign.)"

This program aired on January 20, 2015.

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