Seems like I’m making that up to make a point about amnesty, right?
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest confirmed Monday that President Obama is “very interested” in the idea of raising taxes through unilateral executive action.
“The president certainly has not indicated any reticence in using his executive authority to try and advance an agenda that benefits middle class Americans,” Earnest said in response to a question about Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) calling on Obama to raise more than $100 billion in taxes through IRS executive action.
Obama would not be the first president to try to establish tax policy through executive order. Our Grand Hero of the Depression, FDR, tried to tax people at a top marginal rate of 100% (yes, 100%) by executive order. Historian Burton Folsom explains that FDR
issued an executive order to tax all income over $25,000 at the astonishing rate of 100 percent. Congress later repealed the order, but still allowed top incomes to be taxed at a marginal rate of 90 percent.
The rationale was the rationale always used by government to infringe on your liberties in jaw-dropping ways: We’re at war, don’t you know.
As Allahpundit notes in his post on this, Obama won’t tax the middle class with this tactic. He’ll restrict the action to corporate taxes — since, as we all know, corporate taxes are paid only by corporations, and are not passed on to consumers.
(If you are rolling your eyes at that last sentence, you’re my kind of reader!)
See, Obama has learned that he can do anything he likes, whether the Constitution gives him power to do it or not, as long as it’s popular. Corporate taxes are popular because the public doesn’t understand that they will end up paying them, and sees them as a way to Stick It To The Man. Obama knows by now that, if the policy is popular, Congress will not do a damned thing to oppose it.
P.S. Allahpundit thinks that the courts will rein Obama in if he goes overboard. Don’t count on it.