Beltway Confidential

Why can't a tax cut just be a tax cut?

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Beltway Confidential,Taxes,Barack Obama,John Boehner,Ashe Schow

President Obama announced Tuesday that he will be seeking a "grand bargain" to help improve the economy that includes corporate tax reform coupled with new stimulus spending. If tax reform is so necessary, as both sides agree it is, why can't it stand alone?

Speaking in Chattanooga, Tenn., Obama said that he was "willing to work with Republicans on reforming our corporate tax code, as long as we use the money from transitioning to a simpler tax system for a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs. That's the deal."

Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, criticized Obama for pretending that this proposal was a bargain. "This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama's position on taxes and President Obama's position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind," he said.

The spending side of the equation would be used to fund the same pet projects Obama has been calling for the past five years -- construction, manufacturing, and green energy funding. These were the same things Obama tried to promote in his opening offer to avoid the fiscal cliff in early 2013. While stimulus was not included in the final deal, Obama had again attempted to use tax reform promises as a way to get more stimulus spending.

Because the first stimulus worked so well.

There are currently members of Congress working on tax reform proposals, but the ball does not seem to be moving. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., have toured the country seeking input on how to reform the tax code. But so far, nothing has materialized. Members of Congress have for years claimed to be working on tax reform, yet still there is no bill.

Obama has also proposed this corporate tax reform plan before, yet he has not offered a plan to overhaul individual taxes, instead calling for more and more tax hikes on the rich.

With all the talk of tax reform, why can't it get done? Why does additional spending need to be included?

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