Continued from page 1

The economy grew a modest 2.8 percent in 2012 and averaged a more modest 2.6 percent annual growth rate in the first three quarters last year, he said. “There is no dispute: In terms of overall growth rates, 2013 was a more-of-the-same kind of year,” he concluded.

If that is what’s in store for Americans this year, then Mr. Obama has his work cut out for him if he is to prevent a Republican takeover of the Senate and a stronger hold of the House. Sadly, he and his advisers are treating this as a political problem, when it’s an economic one that he’s incapable of solving.

In Congress this week, the focus is on legislation that would provide funds for extended unemployment benefits. Instead, the debate should be about growing the economy to produce jobs and higher incomes. Right now, the government is taxing every nook and cranny of our economy, and Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes even higher so he can spend more.

In his second term, after carrying 49 states by ending a deep recession in two years, Reagan signed a bipartisan bill to cleanse the tax code of corporate welfare and other loopholes. He used the increased tax revenue to lower income-tax rates and further boost economic growth.

Notably, the tax reforms were actively supported by prominent Democratic leaders, such as then-Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri and then-Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey, who saw lower tax rates as the key to stronger business expansion and job growth.

In 1997, Mr. Clinton signed a GOP bill to cut the capital-gains tax rate while Democrats said the move would swell the deficit. In fact, capital-gains tax revenues nearly doubled, venture-capital investment quintupled, and the economy soared.

Instead of playing midterm election politics as Mr. Obama is doing, we need to move the debate toward reforms like these, which will unlock capital investment, spur business growth, create new jobs and boost incomes.

This isn’t rocket science. It’s doing what has succeeded in the past and can work again for all Americans.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and contributor to The Washington Times.