President Barack Obama gave a rousing speech in Chattanooga to a crowd that seemed to thoroughly enjoy him at Amazon.
His visit, another in the messages he has been taking to the public to increase pressure on a do-nothing, obstructionist Congress, drew smiles and applause as he spoke of improving the lives of middle-class America.
But this message was also a serious offer for Congress. President Obama proposed cuts in corporate tax rates — a Republican priority — in exchange for more money for jobs programs, a priority of the president.
“I’m 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,” Obama told Amazon employees. “That’s the deal.”
Predictably, Republicans in congress quickly scoffed at the grand bargain proffered — a cut of the current 35 percent corporate income tax to bring it down to a 28 percent rate while closing tax loopholes. The savings from closing tax loopholes would fund the jobs programs — particularly construction jobs to build and repair American infrastructure. And more jobs, means more products bought and taxes paid.
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., was quick to use the words “tax hike” in place of closed loopholes. “The tax hike it includes is going to dampen any boost businesses might otherwise get to help our economy,” he said. “In fact, it could actually hurt small businesses.”
In general, Republican leaders said “no deal.”
No deal to a grand bargain? No deal to a corporate tax cut? No deal to new jobs? No deal to Americans?
Well, Congressmen, you’re simply proving once again that you are failed leaders and your party is failing this country. And failing itself.
The president has hammered at Congress’ inaction and intractability.
“Republicans just say no because it’s my idea,” he said. “Doing nothing doesn’t help the middle class.”
Growing jobs is a bit like getting fit, the president said. There are no gimmicks.
“What we need is a serious, steady, long-term American strategy that reverses the long erosion of middle class security and gives everyone a fair shot to get ahead,” he said. “More good jobs that pay decent wages. A better bargain for the middle class. An economy that grows from the middle-out.”
Republicans in Congress are saying no deal to that.
Residents of this country — especially Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina — need to say no to their representatives and senators. They need to tell the deadbeats to stop wasting time playing partisan games and instead put their rhetoric about saving tax dollars where their big mouths are.
Congress and the president work for us. The president is trying, and he made that very clear in Chattanooga on Tuesday.
In Washington, Congress made it clear they only work for themselves.