The truth about Obama’s remarks:
#1) ON TAX BREAKS FOR THE WEALTHY: “And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It’s not a matter of punishing their success. It’s about promoting America’s success”.
FACT: The highest-income earners are the greatest investors. Investment is much more stimulative than consumptive spending; raising the tax margin punishes the earners and the economy – while theat extra revenue will go straight to the government. These top 2% earners also provide nearly 50% of small business income in this country; by targeting them, Obama is also hurting businesses.
#2) ON FIXING THE TAX CODE: “Over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world”
FACT: This is purely populist rhetoric. Accountants and lawyers do not eliminate tax liabilities. And it is not so much lobbyists as it is legislators pandering for votes who put in provisions intended to help their own individual special interests. This happened in the 1986 Tax Act under Ronald Reagan, when tax rates from 50% to 28% in exchange for a large number of deductions and writeoffs. However, the ink was barely dry when Congress used that as an opportunity to jack the rates up from 28% to 39.6% — which lasted until the Bush tax cuts pushed them back a little bit.
#3) ON A FEDERAL FREEZE FOR FIVE YEARS: “I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president”.
FACT: Obama’s federal freeze comes after he has increased our spending 25% in two
years. We need to go back to FY2008 and start from there.
#4) ON JOB CREATION: “We’ll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology – an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people”
FACT: “Invest” is just code for increased government spending. Here’s an example of the government picking industry winners and losers, something they have no business – or qualifications – doing. This policy will result in a net job losses – taking away from market directed companies in order to subsidize activities that cannot justify investment by the free market. A better and more impacting idea would be to give businesses research credits that companies could use and develop on their own.
#5) ON CLEAN TECHNOLOGY: “Now, clean energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they’re selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: by 2035, 80% of America’s electricity will come from clean energy sources. Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas”.
FACT: There is no clear consensus on the best type of clean energy. This only means continued uncertainty in the business markets, which will hamper the rate of recovery.