Obama's plan isn't a tax cut at all

The president merely proposes extending the status quo for some Americans — and only for 12 months, at that

Edward Morrissey

Only in Washington could a politician call keeping tax rates the same a tax cut. But that's exactly what President Barack Obama did in his East Room speech on Monday, trying once again to push a tax hike on high-end earners — an increase that even Senate Democrats rejected a year ago. Plus, Obama's pledge to keep the rates the same has a big, fat asterisk that speaks to the Obama agenda for a second term — a worrisome signal from an incumbent who still has yet to reveal his plans for after November.

First, let's define exactly what Obama and everyone else will reference in this debate. In 2001 and 2003, the George W. Bush administration pushed for and received two tax-rate reduction packages, the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA) and the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA). The EGTRRA lowered the rates for all income tax brackets, along with other reforms in retirement plan taxes and a small reduction on some capital-gains tax rates. The JGTRRA accelerated the tax-bracket reductions, which were originally supposed to phase in over a period of several years, in part to offset the economic impact of the 9/11 attacks.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for HotAir.com. His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.