Obama Bush Tax Cuts Policy for the Middle Class May Backfire


President Barack Obama will try to shift attention away from job numbers and on to “tax fairness,” as he continues to highlight the importance of “strengthening the middle class” as his economic policy platform.

After a dismal and sobering June jobs report (dismal for the president and sobering for millions of voters who could start considering an alternative this fall), Obama will try to focus on taxes instead of unemployment, and the president will lay out this plan in an address from the White House East Room on Monday, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The policy, which will be hammered home in a series of campaign events this summer, will highlight Obama’s previous support for permanently extending the Bush Tax cuts for people who earn less than $250,000 a year. The address would be the first time, though, that the president asks specifically for a one year extension of the Bush Tax Cuts for people from this particular group. The Bush Tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year.

One of Obama’s advisers, former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, said the extension of the Bush Tax cuts for families that make less than $250,000 a year would have “a decent impact on the economy.” 

However, this argument is likely to find opposition, especially as a 2012 extension of all of the Bush Tax cuts – signed off by President Obama – didn’t have a major impact on the economy. In addition, Republicans will argue that letting the Bush Tax Cuts expire for earners over the $250,000 a year treshold will negatively affect job creation; thus, and the proposal has little hope of passing in Congress. Will Obama agree to extend all of the Bush Tax Cuts again this year, or will he let them expire for all brackets – risking being labeled a tax and spending liberal by his opponents?

Either way, Obama will use his new argument to capaign the rest of the summer and try to fire up the Democratic base with an income inequality argument that has been the ceneterpiece of his reelection campaign since his December 2011 Osawatomie, Kansas, speech

The strategy, however, runs the risk of alienating centrist voters who are growing increasingly annoyed by the campaign’s class rhetoric.