Obama’s Proposals Are Pretty Modest

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 20 2015 @ 6:19pm

That’s Jordan Weissman take:

Combined, Obama’s hikes would raise $320 billion over a decade, or $32 billion per year. That’s just a smidge more than 1 percent of last year’s federal tax revenue—more than a rounding error, but not much more. Obama isn’t looking to soak the rich at this point so much as lightly spritz them.

Christopher Flavelle declares that Obama’s “prescriptions mostly demonstrate the timidity of the ideas that Democrats are willing to offer”:

At some point, I hope a leading Democratic politician offers prescriptions that challenge the status quo — if only to remind Americans that what now seem like the outer bounds of policy choices actually represent a narrow range of options, at least by the standards of other developed countries.

Daniel Gross points to a tax loophole Obama hasn’t targeted:

[C]apping IRA amounts does little to address the way Romney really made his money—and that represents one of the most egregious, income-inequality-inducing wrinkles in our tax code. It’s the factor that has really allowed hedge-fund titans and private-equity barons to routinely mint Rockefeller-size fortunes. It’s called the carried interest rule, and Obama doesn’t look like he’s ready to do away with it yet.

Drum sees this as part of a larger strategy:

This actually fits with everything Obama has been doing lately: neither his legislative proposals nor his executive actions have been world shaking. It’s all small-ball stuff, designed as much to make a point as it is to actually make a difference. If you put them all together, Obama’s actions are a way of showing that (a) Democrats are reasonable folks, (b) they’re on the side of the middle class, and (c) Republicans continue to be the party of plutocrats, adamantly opposed to even modest proposals that would tax the rich ever so slightly more.