Out-Played Again

President Obama introduced a corporate tax reform proposal today that would lower the corporate tax rate while also eliminating loopholes and special deductions. The combination of the two would result in a net increase in revenue as loopholes and special deductions are what currently allow some of the nation's largest corporations to pay an effective tax rate of zero percent or lower, with some paying no taxes while also being subsidized.

Predictably, the Republicans came out against the president's proposal within hours of its introduction and are employing the usual talking-points and rhetoric to criticize it.

Senate Finance ranking member Orrin Hatch (Utah) — who may be content for tax reform to wither on the vine this year in the hope that he becomes Finance chairman in 2013 — slammed the proposal as “a set of bullet points designed more for the campaign trail than an actual blueprint for fixing our tax code.” [...]

Romney also criticized Obama’s tax plan.

“He is proposing today a corporate tax plan which I understand sounds like he’s lowering taxes but in fact he’s raising taxes — raising taxes on businesses by hundreds of millions of dollars,” Romney said today during a campaign stop in Chandler, Ariz., USA Today reported. [...]

Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), argued the plan is part of what the GOP contends is a failed record on the economy.

“First it was a stimulus bill that led to fewer jobs. Then it was a health care bill that led to higher costs. Now it’s a ‘framework’ for corporate tax ‘reform’ that isn’t focused on protecting jobs, small businesses and families. This isn’t a record of success,” Stewart said.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck struck a similar cord, raising concerns that the plan will hurt small businesses.

Ironically, the Republicans have been calling for lowering the corporate tax rate for years, but now that the president has proposed doing so, they have to come out against it because their corporate masters aren't interested in eliminating loopholes and special deductions.

This places the Republicans simultaneously in favor of loopholes and exploits, and against lowering taxes.

This is no accident. And Senator Orrin Hatch may actually be correct when he says this is designed for the campaign trail, but my response to that would be "Yeah. What are you going to do about it?"

The Republicans have done a thorough job of convincing themselves that President Obama's election was a function of affirmative action, and that he's a weak and feckless politician who wouldn't know what to say if he wasn't reading from a teleprompter. And unfortunately for them, this fictional version of the president does not reflect the real man who, along with his closest advisers, is ready to beat the Republicans over the head with their own talking points.

I don't see the president's proposal actually being signed into law as it stands, but it will effectively demonstrate once again whose side he is on and whose side the Republican Party is on.