President Barack Obama is hoping for less drama as he tries to turn around our flailing economy again.
He took his case for tax code changes and economic stimulus measures directly to Congress and the American people Thursday evening. A bulk of the tax changes would include cuts while the stimulus is aimed at getting the unemployed, particularly those seeking work for a long period of time, back on the payroll.
Interestingly, he took a page out of the GOP playbook with the tax cuts, although they are not slanted toward the rich as some lawmakers likely would prefer. Let’s hope that doesn’t become a stumbling block to a deal getting done, although Obama’s proposal smacks a little of Robinhood economics — take from the rich and give to the poor.
However, Warren Buffet, the second richest man in American, recently wrote an open letter to the president asking to pay higher taxes. The days of millionaire CEOs paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries needs to end. They can afford to pay at least an equal percentage.
The payroll tax reduction and tax credits for employers to hire long-term laid off workers would grease the wheels of exactly the people who keep our economic engines churning: middle class consumers.
The middle class for decades fueled the growth that led to America becoming the economic powerhouse it is. It’s no coincidence that as the middle class has eroded, so has our economic fortunes. All the while, countries like China and India are growing their middle class amid periods of economic boom.
Clearly, America needs to redirect its focus off Wall Street tycoons and back to mom ‘n’ pop on Main Street. Obama’s proposals appear to be a catalyst that can stem the bleeding the middle class has suffered — especially in Montcalm County — over the past five or 10 years.
Having said all that, Obama and Congress need to keep one thing in mind while they bargain toward a final plan: We’re broke. America is already more than $14 trillion in debt and obviously can’t afford to take on more debt load. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren shouldn’t have to pay for this plan.
America doesn’t have a spare $450 billion laying burning a hole in our pocket to pay for Obama’s plan. So we eagerly await the president’s proposals for how to make this debt-neutral. If that can’t be met, Obama needs to work with both parties in Congress to scale back the plan. And both parties in Congress need to work honestly with Obama.
Another showdown over America’s economic health and safety purely for political gain is the one thing we need less than more federal debt.
Editorial opinions are a consensus of The Daily News editorial board.