[guest post by Dana]
By unveiling the new tax proposals on Saturday night, WH hopes it takes the edge and shock off his Tuesday night Address to Congress.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 18, 2015
UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Here’s some more detail on that, from the Wall Street Journal:
President Barack Obama will call on the new Republican-led Congress to raise taxes on investments and inherited property and to create or expand a range of tax breaks for middle-income families, laying out an opening position in a debate over taxation that both parties see as a potential area of compromise.
Mr. Obama will outline the measures in his State of the Union address Tuesday night. He will propose using revenue generated from the tax increases—which would fall mainly on high-income households—to pay for a raft of new breaks aimed at boosting stagnant incomes for low- and middle-income households.
Those initiatives include tripling the child-care tax credit and creating a new credit for families in which both spouses work, senior administration officials said on Saturday.
I already wasn’t going to watch the speech. This cements that decision.
UPDATE BY DANA: Veronique de Rugy points out the sad truth:
“Whether he announces proposals during the speech or in the two weeks preceding the speech, the bulk of what the president wants to do is give stuff away for “free”:
Two “free” years of community college for Americans who are “willing to work for it.” This is obviously not free because taxpayers would be footing the bill. It’s also a bad idea since it wouldn’t even accomplish its intended goal.
“Free” paid sick days and paid family leave. It won’t be free for the employers who would have to shoulder the cost, or the employees who would suffer from the unintended consequences of a policy that would make hiring more expensive, cuts workers’ wages, and make employment contracts more rigid.
If Congress doesn’t pass the president’s paid sick days and paid family leave plan, he’ll encourage state and local governments to act. That too would be “free” . . . except for taxpayers who get stuck paying for a proposed $2.2 billion plan to help states study paid leave.
Universal access to broadband and high-speed Internet. That will come “free” by having the FCC trample on state laws that restrict municipalities from building their own networks. The language he’s using to sell this plan (“clear away the red tape” and “help communities succeed in our digital economy”) makes it sound free, right? It won’t be. My colleague Brent Skorup notes that the government has “spent billions on broadband.” As Skorup explains in a piece that I highly recommend, federally funded public broadband networks aren’t just costly – they’re also unwise and unhelpful in terms of getting people access to fast Internet.