Obama’s “Grand Bargain” isn’t Grand, or a Bargain

Obama the celebrity has embarked on another fan tour, this time touring across the country to deliver addresses on jobs and the economy. The tour began last week in Illinois, Missouri and Florida but, as usual, Obama has not yet made any policy statement concerning jobs or the economy. I’ll say that again: on his tour focusing on jobs and the economy he has not yet introduced anything new, innovative or clear about jobs or the economy.

That is until today! Obama will deliver a speech today at Amazon.com in Tennessee, a company that offered  7,000 new high-paying jobs to Americans, introducing what he called [pause for dramatic effect] “The Grand Bargain“. 

What Obama is calling the Grand Bargain is a proposal to cut corporate taxes while investing in programs to put more Americans back to work. Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council, put it this way:

Today what he is saying is that he would be willing to go forward with corporate tax reform if it is part of a larger package that includes critical investments in things like infrastructure, manufacturing and innovation hubs and community college training to help close existing and future skill gaps

I have to admit, when I read this, I gave Obama a round of applause. Corporate tax reform? Cutting corporate taxes from 35% to 28% AND offering market incentives to small businesses? Sure, the “innovation hubs” sound like another ambiguous Obama-ism that will probably do absolutely nothing, but the idea that Obama might actually CUT taxes for corporations was probably the highlight of morning. It seemed to me like a great compromise for Republicans, we get some tax reform and Obama gets to invest in community colleges and “innovation hubs” and keep manufacturing on American soil. Doesn’t sound so bad…right?

And then, on my drive to work, I thought about it (a step, which, when it comes to politics, the average Democrat rarely takes). Obama is claiming that this economic policy is two things 1) Grand 2) A Bargain. Guess what? It is actually neither.

Why is it not grand? Well, because this is really nothing new. Obama has always supported corporate tax reform. However, his attempt to fix the problem is superficial and therefore flawed. This tax reform leaves small businesses and American families in the dust. It does not cut taxes for individuals, which many small businesses register as. So, Obama isn’t introducing anything new. He is slapping a new name on his old policy and looking for a headline.

Why is it not a bargain? Well, because this policy does not offer Republicans the comprehensive tax reform that they actually want and it doesn’t touch overburden entitlement programs. Instead, it allows Obama to spend tax money (his favorite hobby) on more infrastructure, manufacturing and community college education while making the small changes to corporate taxes that he already wanted to make. Basically, this policy subscribes to the same tax-and-spend liberal policy that he has relied on all along. However, by labeling it as a bargain and including corporate tax cuts, Obama is making it look like he is compromising with Republicans. He is making it look like he’s trying to break the gridlock in Congress when, actually, he is not proposing anything new. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell summed it up by saying:

While I understand he is looking for headlines here, reports indicate that the policy he intends to announce doesn’t exactly qualify as news

The media, of course, is already jumping on the bargain bandwagon. USA today reported this morning that:

Obama is expected to make one specific offer to congressional Republicans: A cut in corporate tax rates in exchange for new investments in jobs programs.

I’m sorry, no. That is incorrect information. Look at the congressional Republican reaction! None of them are satisfied with the Grand Bargain because it is nothing new or impactful in the area of corporate tax reform (it is not grand) and it simply is Obama’s old policy of spending which offers nothing significant to Republicans (it is not a bargain).

So, although I initially was pleased by what looked like some meaningful tax reform coming from the White House, I quickly retracted my round of applause. Obama is looking for a headline, and he has gotten many. But, Mr. President, headlines don’t help American families or small business. I hope you get a lot of nice photo opportunities on your pointless tour to speak about jobs and the economy while you offer absolutely no new policy to address jobs or the economy. Please enjoy my very sarcastic round of applause.

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