- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The White House introduced a massive tax program on Monday that’s supposed to create jobs. The big-government push ought to be called the American Higher Taxes Act.

President Obama’s proposal, now in the hands of Congress, is a mish-mash of ideas that have either been previously discarded or have been tried and failed. It’s no wonder Mr. Obama wants Congress to pass it without comment, amendment or even a thorough reading. Providing temporary tax breaks for employers who make new hires is unlikely to provide enough incentive for businesses to expand their payroll long-term. Any jobs “created” through shoveling taxpayer cash out the door will dry up when the federal spigot is turned off.

For millions of unemployed Americans, the plan extends unemployment benefits, which recently the White House bizarrely claimed “creates growth and income for businesses that leads them to decisions about jobs, more hiring.” By that twisted logic, rising job losses could be an encouraging sign of future economic health. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack recently called food stamps “the most direct stimulus you can get in the economy during these tough times.” For liberals, having more Americans on the unemployment dole and record levels depending on food aid are a sign of economic health.

Mr. Obama’s tax increases would be immediate and permanent. The largest chunk is $400 billion that will come from limiting itemized deductions for families with more than $250,000 in yearly taxable income and individuals over $200,000. This includes ramping back deductions for home-mortgage interest payments, state and local property taxes and charitable donations. Reducing the benefit of the home-mortgage deduction in a troubled housing market is breathtakingly counterproductive, and making charitable donations less attractive is inhumane when more people are in need. It’s a mystery how tax hikes will create even one permanent private-sector job when they so clearly further harm the struggling economy.

The White House claims the plan is “paid for over 10 years” using the same illogic that resulted in record deficits, retarded growth and stymied job creation. It is “paid for” in the same way that someone could rapidly run his credit card up to its limit and pay it off over time - assuming he still has a job and nothing else to purchase. Mr. Obama wants to use government money now to help buy his re-election and have it paid off over 10 years, when he will be in comfortable retirement. And even that scenario assumes his rosy economic projections are more accurate than they were in the 2009 stimulus plan or subsequent White House budgets.

Mr. Obama’s proposal reconfirms his obsession with raising taxes. For the White House, more government is always the solution. But it doesn’t take 155 pages of fine print to solve the jobs crisis; it takes 10 words: Cut spending, cut taxes and get out of the way.