Sunday, January 18, 2015

SOTU Preview: Obama To Propose Working Families Relief

In Tuesday's State of the Union address, President Obama is expected to propose raising taxes on the wealthy and big banks to support programs to help working families.  Specifically,
... Obama will propose raising the capital gains and dividend tax rates to 28 percent for high earners; imposing a fee on the liabilities of about 100 big financial institutions; and greatly broadening the amount of inherited money subject to taxes. 
Obama will also seek to boost private retirement savings by requiring employers without 401(k) plans to make it easier for full-time and part-time workers to save in individual retirement accounts, which could assist as many as 30 million people. The administration would provide small employers tax credits to cover costs.
The administration estimates that the tax rate proposals would raise $320 billion over the next 10 years.  Ninety-nine percent of the impact of the tax increases would fall on the top 1 percent (i.e., the "establishment Republican" base). The funds would be used for supporting such programs as the President's free community college tuition initiative and child care tax credits for working families. Boosting private retirement savings might help partially restore a social safety net that Republicans (and conservaDems) have been working to weaken for three decades by union-busting and Wall Street's gambling with other peoples' money (i.e., middle class savings) -- another reason why the Wall Street reforms, as imperfect as they were, must not be allowed to be rolled back by Republicans eager to please their plutocrat backers.

It should be noted that this has to be considered an ideological marker for the administration to clarify which party's on the side of working families, since it's not a proposal that the Wall Street plutocrat/ reactionary Republicans in Congress would enact in whole or in part.  It should also be noted that raising the capital gains tax rate to 28 percent would put it at the same rate as it was when Republican St. Ronnie of Rodeo Drive left office in 1988, so big gummint socialism!

Once again, Democrats must keep aggressively pushing a "Share the Growth" agenda that includes these proposals, as well as raising the minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, paid sick leave, etc., to help America's working families take part in the benefits of the growing economy. It's no time to cower;  it's time to be staying on offense.

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