State of the Union: What to expect

19 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Highlights of Obama plan to tax wealthy.

No other recent president combined substance, empathy and a zest for the job like Bill Clinton did when he gave his State of the Union address. Facing a Republican Congress and with only two years remaining in his presidency, he seems to come up with a new idea every couple of weeks to drive them up a wall.

While the administration and GOP leaders have said they want to find common ground and ways to compromise, Obama is expected to offer an array of policy proposals that are unlikely to advance in Congress in the final two years of his administration. Congress would have to agree, and lawmakers have rebuffed Obama’s earlier proposals to eliminate certain tax provisions and spend the money on road and bridge repair, for example. White House spokesman Dan Pfeiffer told NBC’s Meet the Press that the theme of the speech is “middle-class economics” and the president will focus heavily on ways to improve wage stagnation and economic mobility. At Tuesday’s speech, Obama will announce a series of proposals meant to aid middle class and poor Americans and address inequality, most particularly an increase in the child care credit and a $500 tax credit for working couples (here’s the White House’s fact sheet on the proposals).

To pay for it, investment and inheritance taxes on the wealthy would be increased and some loopholes that small numbers of the super-rich (like one Willard Romney) exploit will be closed. While the SOTU is often the occasion for dramatic announcements that are soon forgotten, this one lands in the center a debate that is looking like it will shape the upcoming presidential race.

A capital gain is calculated as the difference between the selling price and the original purchase price of an asset like a stock, bond, or investment property. The plan would also expand child care and education tax breaks for middle income earners. • Cybersecurity: A number of high-profile cyber attacks on Sony and the U.S. The White House said the idea is in line with a proposal that was in a comprehensive tax overhaul plan brought forward during the previous session of Congress by then-Rep. Watching him speak to a packed Congress was like watching Barbra Streisand sing, Michael Jackson moonwalk, Tiger Woods golf, or Steve Jobs pitch a product. Marco Rubio was on the same page. “Raising taxes on people that are successful is not going to make people that are struggling more successful,” he said on Face the Nation. “The good news about free enterprise is that everyone can succeed without punishing anyone.” That was about as close as any Republican came to actually talking about the tax cuts Obama is proposing (though this National Review editorial does discuss them, by arguing that it’s an attack on motherhood).

In Canada, we only include half the gain for taxation, but the half that is included is put in the same income pot alongside earnings, pension income, and other income sources and taxed using our regular tax brackets and rates. Raising the capital gains rate, ending the break on inheritances and imposing a fee on financial firms would generate $320 billion in revenue over a decade, according to administration estimates. Since they believe that government programs to help ordinary people are useless almost by definition, the only way to give anyone a hand is with a tax cut. The proposal would save an average student $3,800 per year, and could benefit as many as 9 million students. • Paid family leave: A recent $2 billion proposal would encourage states to create new, paid family and medical leave programs.

And yes, the hand they usually extend is toward the wealthy, whose burdens are so crushing that justice demands that lawmakers not rest until they can be afforded relief. The president also will push for making it easier for workers to earn sick leave, and a new federal law that would give federal workers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave. • Trade: Two stalled trade pacts with Asia and Europe could get a renewed boost if Congress can renew Trade Promotion Authority to give the president fast track negotiating authority. Moreover, the recipient of the assets gets to use the current asset price as his or her ‘cost’ for any future capital gains calculations–the cost basis is said to be ‘stepped up’ at death.

One thing’s for sure: as the economy improves, both parties are now being forced to address the underlying issues of stagnant wages and inequality that have been an anchor around ordinary people’s lives for the last few decades. —Boost retirement savings by automatically enrolling in an Individual Retirement Account people who don’t have access to a workplace retirement plan, and expand access to employer retirement plans for certain part-time workers. Both position paper and performance piece, the Address must pitch policies in proportion while showcasing the president in a way that entrances 535 Members of Congress in person and millions watching it at home. So Mitt Romney says he has cast off his previous contempt for those of modest means and now wants to focus his 2016 presidential campaign on the issue of poverty?

After Clinton so carefully crafted a role as America’s “Good Father” in 1996, Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr was now investigating Clinton’s weaknesses as a bad husband. You can argue — and many will — that it’s pointless for Obama to introduce significant policy proposals like this when he knows they couldn’t make it through the Republican Congress.

Howe Benefactors’ Lecture in November, is that our tax system should confront the growth of inequality to ensure continued support for the pro-growth economic policies we need to create the jobs and opportunities of the future. The President’s attention to inequality will bring renewed prominence to the idea that prosperity that is widely felt across the income distribution should be central to policy debates in both the United States and Canada. Let’s give them a hand.” As the Democrats applauded the squirming Republicans, he beamed: “That’s great.” With that mischievous maneuver, Clinton spoke over the Republicans’ heads directly to the American people, emphasizing the bipartisanship most Americans want but both parties frequently fail to provide.

While again calling for “a government that is a progressive instrument of the common good, rooted in our oldest values of opportunity, responsibility and community,” Clinton tried mobilizing support for Social Security reform. Bush marveled, “Now I understand why he’s inside looking out, and I’m outside looking in.” Since his first inaugural address, Obama has failed to wow Americans with his speeches, as he did so effectively during his 2008 campaign. With unemployment down but GDP up, Obama finally can deliver some of the good news his predecessor was lucky enough to sprinkle throughout his speeches.

Obama can flummox Republicans and appeal to the public by seizing the center rather than lurching left, acting as president of all the people, not a partisan leader of the opposition-to-the-opposition. He might even integrate it all into a coherent, comprehensible, and accessible vision such as Clinton’s opportunity-responsibility-community mantra, so Americans have a sense of forward momentum. But Clinton also conveyed an intense, authentic, infectious love of the people, the policies, and the politics that disarmed many Republicans, thrilled many Democrats, and wooed many independents.

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