One week after announcing a proposal to tax 529 education plans, the White House is dropping the idea because it “has become such a distraction.” Distraction or not, it is only a matter of time before Democrats will have to raise taxes on the middle class to finance all the party’s entitlement schemes. Taxing the rich alone doesn’t do it. The real money is with the middle class. Read here from the WSJ the real meaning of “middle-class economics.”
Mr. Obama wanted to tax 529 plans to finance a more targeted college subsidy program that politicians could better control. The 529 plans put the power in the hands of parents. The political problem is that 529s have become popular with, well, the middle class; there were some 11.8 million accounts and the average balance was $20,671 as of last June.
House Speaker John Boehner had called on Mr. Obama to withdraw the proposal, and the Ways and Means Committee was already rolling out legislation to force Democrats to go on record for the 529 tax increase. “Given it has become such a distraction, we’re not going to ask Congress to pass the 529 provision,” a White House official told the Journal, in a a classic of political rationalization.
It’s a shame there won’t be a vote, because the 529 tax increase is a rare example of the President’s policy sincerity. Liberals sooner or later must raise taxes on the middle class because taxing the rich alone can’t possibly finance all of the Democratic Party’s entitlement schemes. The middle class is where the real money is. So while taxing 529s may die for now, it’s only a matter of time before liberals are back with a carbon tax or value-added tax or something. That’s the real meaning of “middle-class economics.”