While right-wingers tried to resuscitate their discredit movement with Fox-amplified anti-tax “tea party” protests yesterday, President Obama outlined a set of strongly pro-working-class tax reform initiatives.

Surrounded by workers and small-business people whom he had invited to the White House to discuss tax policies on income tax deadline day, April 15, Obama said, “We start from the simple premise that we should reduce the tax burden on working people, while helping Americans go to college, own a home, raise a family, start a business and save for retirement.”

In a direct slam at the false populism of the Republican right, the president said, “For too long, we’ve seen taxes used as a wedge to scare people into supporting policies that actually increased the burden on working people instead of helping them live their dreams. That has to change, and that’s the work that we’ve begun.”

He cited the “broad and sweeping tax cut for 95 percent of American workers” that was enacted as part of his stimulus bill. “The Congressional Budget Office,” he noted, “has found that tax cuts like these for American workers are more than three times more effective in stimulating recovery than tax breaks for the very wealthiest Americans.”

Along with tax changes to help small businesses and new tax credits for students to pay for college and for first-time homebuyers, Obama called for eliminating “the unnecessary giveaways that have thrown our tax code out of balance.”

Taking aim at the tax handouts enjoyed by the corporate elite and their teabag-wielding front-men, he declared:

“I said this during the campaign, I’m now saying it as president: We need to stop giving tax breaks to companies that stash profits or ship jobs overseas so we can invest in job creation here at home. And we need to end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, so that people like me, who are extraordinarily lucky, are paying the same rates that the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans paid when Bill Clinton was president.”

Obama announced he has ordered a review of the tax code to simplify it for ordinary taxpayers and “to undo the damage of years of carve-outs and loopholes.” He added, “I want every American to know that we will rewrite the tax code so that it puts your interests over any special interests.”

No wonder the far-right friends of the rich are having a fit.

Fanning the right-wing flames at an anti-tax “tea party’ in Austin, Texas, Gov. Rick Perry went so far as to suggest Texans could secede from the U.S. The Associated Press reported that he fired up the crowd up with “his stance against the federal government and for states’ rights as some in his U.S. flag-waving audience shouted, ‘Secede!’”

According to the AP report, Perry told the cheering crowd: ‘I’m just not real sure you’re a bunch of right-wing extremists. But if you are, we’re with you.’


Susan Webb
Susan Webb

Susan Webb is a retired co-editor of People's World. She has written on a range of topics both international - the Iraq war, World Social Forums in Brazil and India, the Israel-Palestinian conflict and controversy over the U.S. role in Okinawa - and domestic - including the meaning of socialism for Americans, attacks on Planned Parenthood, the U.S. as top weapons merchant, and more.