LAMBRO: Obama’s war on wealth

Higher taxes mean slower growth

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We should be well into a full-blown recovery by now, if it were not for Mr. Obama’s impotent “stimulus” programs and hostile, anti-business rhetoric that have given us an anemic growth rate throughout the first term of his presidency.

He says the economy hasn’t improved as much as he would like but still blames his predecessor for all of its ills. Yet previous presidents have faced more severe recessions and succeeded in nursing the economy back to health.

President Reagan cut income tax rates across the board, and the economy came roaring back in the third year of his first term. When he ran for re-election in 1984, the 10 percent jobless rate had dropped to 7 percent and the U.S. economic growth rate was nearly 6 percent.

We are nearing the end of the fourth year of the Obama economy, which crept along at a 2 percent growth rate in the first quarter, further slowed in the second quarter and was running at a dismal 2 percent growth rate in the third.

That brings us to rule No. 2: When an economic strategy isn’t producing the desired results, chief executives change course. Instead, Mr. Obama is doubling down on his core agenda to raise taxes sharply on the top income brackets, including 750,000 small-business employers who file as individual taxpayers — the people responsible for creating many of the jobs in our country.

Small businesses hire “about half of all private employees” and have “generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years,” according to the Small Business Administration.

House Speaker John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican, has made it pretty clear to the White House that he and his fellow Republicans are not going to sock job producers by pushing the 28 percent tax bracket to 36 percent and the 35 percent rate to 39.6 percent, as Mr. Obama is demanding.

What they will agree to do is raise revenue by scrubbing a federal tax code that is riddled with special-interest exemptions, credits, deductions, loopholes and other corporate welfare. That would broaden the tax base, which would permit lowering the tax rates for businesses and individuals alike, boosting economic growth, jobs and capital investment.

The ball is now in Mr. Obama’s court.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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