By Rep Kenny Marchant
Government spending failed on jobs, so the president has shifted to Plan T: taxes, including limiting mortgage interest and other deductions -- plus still more spending. His unlikely-to-pass plan is 100% politics.
When an angry Barack Obama repeatedly demanded at a joint session of Congress last week that lawmakers "pass this jobs bill," he knew their answer would be no. But at the time, no one outside the White House knew the game the president was playing.
In one of the most deceitful ploys ever attempted against the American people, President Obama kept it to himself that he was planning a full-frontal assault on tax deductions to "pay for" nearly $450 billion in new stimulus.
Individuals earning more than $200,000 annually and married couples taking in more than $250,000 would see restrictions on itemized deductions for mortgage interest, charitable giving, and state and local taxes. Coming out of the blue as a high-unemployment economy threatens a double-dip recession, these tax increases define the term "nonstarter."
Obama also wants to tax "carried interest" at the rate of ordinary income instead of at the lower capital gains rate -- a class warfare attack on the profits of venture capitalists, private equity specialists and other investors that raises just $18 billion, a fraction of the cost of the bill. The president obviously attributes no value to such investors in the private jobs sector.
Club for Growth executive director David Keating tells IBD of "some remarkable conference calls in recent months with CEOs" he's listened in on. "They see job creators being viewed as just targets, sources of government revenues," Keating relates. "And so, their money is frozen on the sidelines."
Obama also smacks the oil and gas industry with $40 billion in new taxes over a decade through drilling deduction restrictions. As a Wood Mackenzie study commissioned last year by the oil industry warned, $5 billion in annual tax increases would reduce domestic oil production by 400,000 barrels a day, destroy 170,000 American jobs by 2014 and lose $128 billion in government revenues over about 15 years.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., rejected the Obama tax increases, but expressed hope that Congress could "peel off the things that we can actually agree on," like payroll tax cuts.
Democratic talking points say "no way": House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi roared that the Obama bill should not be voted on in pieces; White House political adviser David Axelrod told ABC News the legislation is "not an a la carte menu" open to negotiation.
What's more, the president's speech itself was delivered as a gruff ultimatum, with its harsh, repeated insistence that Congress "pass this bill," arguing that it was already a compromise.
Big tax increases clearly will not pass with the economy in the doldrums. But this collection of job-killing new taxes and yet-more stimulus spending is designed not to pass, but to hoodwink 2012 voters into thinking obstructionist Republicans -- not a big-government president and his party -- are to blame for the economy.