What Mr. Camp is shooting for is a historic overhaul of tax rates that would shrink them to two brackets, with the top rate falling to 25 percent.
“We’re not going to take the current code and see what comes out. We’re going to take a blank piece of paper and see what goes back in,” Mr. Camp told The Washington Post.
Meantime, the president is seen as virtually out to lunch on this looming legislative issue and its purpose. He hasn’t got a clue.Whenever Mr. Obama raises the issue, which is infrequently, he usually talks of reform in terms of raising more tax revenue, not about also lowering the rates to unlock trillions of dollars in venture capital that would put America back to work.
The liberal base of the Democratic Party doesn’t want to hear about cutting tax rates, only about raising them on the rich. Mr. Obama remained true to this class-driven cause in his first four years, but could he change his tune in his second term?
President Clinton played the tax-the-rich card in his first term with increases that pushed the top rate to nearly 40 percent. After he won re-election, he signed the Republicans’ “make them work” welfare-reform bill and the GOP’s pro-growth capital-gains-tax cut, which pushed his second-term economy into overdrive.
Mr. Obama is presiding over a second-term economy that is slowing down, again. Durable-goods orders plunged 5.7 percent in March. Consumer spending slowed to a snail’s pace 0.2 percent. Economic growth averaged 1.4 percent during the past six months.
If the slowdown continues, Mr. Obama may begin looking for something to rescue his presidency from a weak economic legacy. Mr. Baucus and Mr. Camp are preparing to offer him a long-proven, bipartisan tax-rate reduction remedy. Does he have enough common sense he to take it?
Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.