Is Obama ‘Trolling’ The Newly GOP-Led Congress With Talk Of Tax Hikes?

As it becomes increasingly apparent that President Obama will ask for tax breaks for the middle class to be offset by tax hikes on the wealthy, many are beginning to believe that Obama is trolling the newly GOP-led Congress.

As the Huffington Post reports, President Obama will lay out a plan designed to extend tax credits to the middle class by raising taxes on wealthy Americans and big banks during his State of the Union address on Tuesday, according to senior administration officials.

While capital gains taxes for couples with annual incomes over $500,000 would be raised from 23.8 percent back up to the 28 percent level it was under the Ronald Reagan administration, among other increases, in return, the tax revenues gained from those increases and tax code changes would benefit the middle class. The earned income tax credits would be extended to families without children, benefiting an estimated 13 million low-income workers, while tripling the maximum tax credits for child care in both low-and-middle-income households.

According to an administration official, “This proposal is probably the most impactful way we can address the manifest unfairness in our tax system.”

However, much of what Obama has included in his new tax plan runs almost exactly at odds with what the Republican party, which now controls both the Senate and the House of Representatives, has been putting forth as their own revision of America’s tax code. In fact, the theAssociated Press bluntly noted that “the tax increases are all but certain to be non-starters with the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill.” Republican lawmakers have long said they, too, believe the nation’s tax code needs to be reformed, but their ideas are vastly different.

“While GOP leaders have said they share Obama’s desire to reform the nation’s complicated tax code, the party has long been opposed to many of the proposals the president will outline Tuesday. For example, most Republicans want to lower or eliminate the capital gains tax and similarly want to end taxes on estates, not expand them.”

Knowing that tax increases on the wealthy is an idea that will virtually be dead on its feet the moment it hits Congress, why, then, is Obama putting forth a plan that has no chance of succeeding?

It depends on who you ask.

The New York Post reports that Obama has a history of “trolling” Republicans, even to the detriment of his own party, and that Obama’s call for tax increases on the wealthy to provide tax breaks for low-and-middle-income workers has but one reason.

“This, of course, has no chance of passing. But then Tuesday night’s State of the Union address could be the first one in history deliberately designed solely to generate a Pavlovian rage response in members of the opposing party.”

In fact, the New York Post writes that “Obama and his team have clearly decided that one of the metrics by which they will measure their success is by just how wild he drives his Republican opposition in Washington and conservatives across the country.”

Others believe that Obama’s call for tax hikes is setting the referendum for 2016 — that, knowing the GOP-led Congress will soundly reject the idea, the proposal will generate conversation centered around such hot-button topics as the rising income inequality in the United States and the idea that the tax system is increasingly rigged in the favor of the very wealthy. After all, the GOP-led Congress is sure to reject the proposal, but they may also be held to accountability as to why the proposal was rejected.

As writer Bill Scher pointed out, “Fortunately for Obama, bringing out the worst in Republicans serves both his political and his policy purposes.”

For a more in-depth look at the tax plan President Obama will unveil on Tuesday, click here.

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