President Obama couldn’t come up with a middle-class tax agenda until his party had lost all control over the legislative branch. This suggests his new tax proposal is little more than meaningless political posturing. After all, if he really wanted these or similar tax cuts and tax hikes, Obama could have advanced them when his party controlled the House and the Senate.
Many commentators have correctly noted that this is the White House’s effort to frame the 2016 election in class-warfare terms. When the tax provisions of the president’s budget die on arrival, Democrats will respond that Republicans are protecting the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
But rather than ignore Obama’s plan totally, it’s worth studying it as a statement of his values and the values of his party. Doing this, you see it’s less class warfare and more culture war. One clear message of the president’s tax plan: Moms who stay at home with their children are less valuable than moms who work for pay.