A review of President Obama’s press conference yesterday from one W. Shakespeare: “Sound and fury signifying nothing.” Meaningless rhetoric and duplicity, with a dose of class warfare red meat to stir up the base for the 2012 election thrown in for good measure. And by my reading of the reactions from the Obama faithful in the blogosphere this morning, it worked.
The president mentions “taxing the rich” and his supporters voice their approval with a hearty, “Yeah, it’s about time, go get ‘em.” But he’s not talking about what they’re thinking about. He’s already
refused to been forced to not let the Obama Bush income tax cuts expire—twice. If he was serious about deficit reduction, as Willie Sutton once said, that’s where the money is.
The “revenue increases” Obama is referring to are trivial amounts like his oft-repeated slam at the tax break for corporate jet owners. By my count he mentioned this one in particular 4 times yesterday. Eliminating this break will bring in about $300 million in additional revenue–that’s million—a year. I’m not defending the owners of corporate jets by any stretch, but $300 million out of a $1.5 trillion deficit? Talk about a drop in the proverbial bucket.
A couple of the other “revenue raisers” that the White House is floating are an adjustment in the taxation of inventory and an increase in the tax rate on carried interest. The first would bring in about $7 billion a year, the second about two. Add those to the corporate jet tax break and the total comes to around $9.3 billion a year. By comparison, the tab for the war in Afghanistan is somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion—-a month.
How many college scholarships would that pay for, Mr. President?