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Fiscal cliff deal will affect the middle class

Jan. 10, 2013 @ 12:07 AM

President Barack Obama will be officially sworn in for his second presidential term on Monday, Jan. 21.

Since the election, liberals have been quick to assert the president has been ordained with some sort of executive "mandate" to further expand the roles, responsibilities and powers of the federal government.

While Barack Obama has certainly been re-elected to the office of president, he has been afforded no additional mandate or powers above and beyond his duties as outlined in the Constitution.

Admittedly, it's been very difficult to be a "high information" American with this administration. Despite vowing transparency during his first term in office, this president has been anything but open and honest as commander-in-chief.

The recent "fiscal cliff" debacle is an example of the obscurities many anticipate in President Obama's second term and how Americans must learn to "peel back the layers" of the president's policies in order to find the truth.

The foundation of President Obama's entire 2012 campaign was fighting for the middle class and demanding the wealthiest Americans pay their "fair share." In remarks following the fiscal cliff deal, the president suggested Congress helped accomplish that goal.

"A central promise of my campaign for president was to change the tax code that was too skewed towards the wealthy at the expense of working middle-class Americans," the president said. "Under this law, more than 98 percent of Americans and 97 percent of small business will not see their income taxes go up."

But according to the non-partisan, Tax Policy Center, that isn't exactly true.

"The economy needs a stimulus, but under the agreement, taxes will go up in 2013 relative to 2012,'' said co-director William Gale. "...not only on high-income households...but also on every working man and woman in the country via the end of the payroll tax cut."

According to Gale, roughly 77 percent of workers will see their federal taxes increase as a result of the deal allowing a Bush-era tax cut to expire. And middle-class workers will take a bigger hit proportionate to their income than those earning between $200,000 and $500,000!

While President Obama promised "income taxes" wouldn't go up on the middle class, this additional payroll tax will affect all workers, many whom wouldn't have been affected by an income tax increase since nearly half of all Americans pay no income tax at all!

In fact, middle-class workers are expected to receive a whopping $1,250 annual tax increase on average!

Additionally, Obama claims the agreement "will reduce the deficit," yet according to the Congressional Budget office the deficit will actually increase by $4 trillion over the next 10 years. The deal will "reduce the deficit" only compared with what it would have been if the Bush tax cuts had been extended.

So, as the president prepares his second inaugural address, he begins the New Year with a "sleight of hand" tax deception on the very people he vowed to protect -- the middle class.

I propose Barack Obama try this new mandate in his second term -- honesty and true leadership.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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