For more by Scott Martin, go to Conservatism Today.
Barack Obama is making another massive flip-flop from his stated goals, this one on tax policy. Like all of his flips, it is easy to rip as a convenient switch in an attempt to win the election, but at the same time it feels bad ripping the guy when he's showing signs of gaining his sanity.
This is a pretty big change for Obamanomics. Economic advisers Austan Goolsbee and Jason Furman, in today's Wall Street Journal, now say that Barack Obama's tax plan will do the following:
1) It will increase capital gains and dividend tax rates, to 20 percent, only for families making over $250,000. Before, Obama was hinting at rates as high as 28 percent for everyone.
2) On the issue of the Social Security income cap, he's now considering a plan that would make folks earning over $250,000 pay in the range of 2 to 4 percentage points more in total (combined employer and employee) payroll taxes. Previously, there were hints at increases of from 6 percent to 12 percentage points.
Now certainly, any increase in taxes on the "rich" and on capital gains is likely to be disastrous, especially given the current slow economy. And he still will allow President Bush's tax cuts to expire, which will be the largest tax hike in American history. But at least he's realizing it's a losing issue for him and is adjusting it. Plus, the flip makes him look bad to supporters and non-supporters alike, and only serves to bring into focus just how far from mainstream he is to begin with.
As the author writes:
In 2009, the United States might be just emerging from a nasty downturn, only to get hit by a tax increase. Also, recent research shows that tax hikes may be less harmful if accompanied by spending cuts. Yet Obama is planning huge and specific spending increases matched by often vague spending reductions. Clintonomics was all about balancing the budget. This is not a priority for Obama.
So Obama is still a disaster. But he's getting better at trying not to be too open about it.