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Obama vs. the rich: More sleight of hand

July 13. 2011 8:51PM

President Obama keeps talking about the need to pay down the debt by raising new revenue from 'millionaires and billionaires.' It's a ruse.

'The tax cuts I'm proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners,' he said in his June 29 press conference. He has repeated the claim numerous times. But notice what he doesn't do: release a detailed plan for reducing the federal debt by taxing only millionaires and billionaires.

He doesn't do that because he cannot. The 'millionaires and billionaires' line is a deliberate deception. His actual plan is to tax families and business owners who are nowhere close to being millionaires. The Washington Post's fact checker wrote the day after that press conference that Obama 'should (have) made clear that he would like to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000, rather than just 'millionaires and billionaires.'' It's actually families that make at least $250,000 and individuals who make at least $200,000.

The President implies that raising taxes on corporate jet owners and oil companies is critical to paying down the debt. Eliminating oil and gas tax breaks and the five-year depreciation schedule for corporate jets (compared to seven years for other jets) would yield only about $47 billion over a decade. The national debt grows by more than that amount every two weeks.

The tax code is in desperate need of reform, to be sure. But that's not really what Obama is talking about. He's pretending that he can make significant progress on the debt by eliminating a few tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. He can't, and he knows it.

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