What The Spectator says: ‘Obama the Lib Dem’. (PS: It may even be a compliment.)

Over at The Spectator, Jonathan Jones looks at the US and UK approaches to their forthcoming budgets — cutting the deficit, taming debt, etc — and his fourth and final point concludes:

Obama the Lib Dem. It’s striking how similar Obama’s tax priorities are to those of the Liberal Democrats, even though the specifics differ either side of the Atlantic. Obama wants to extend the payroll tax cut for ‘160 million hardworking Americans’, which he says is worth ‘about $40 in every paycheck’ for ‘the typical family earning $50,000 a year’. The Lib Dems have been pushing to raise the income tax personal allowance to £10,000 ‘saving working people £700 a year’. Obama wants to close loopholes and reduce tax deductions for high earners, as well as increasing the capital gains tax rate from 15 per cent to 20. The Lib Dems have already succeeded in raising capital gains tax from 18 per cent to 28, and Danny Alexander is now calling for a lower rate of tax relief on pension contributions for high earners. As I say, the similarities are striking.

“The similarities are striking.” They are indeed because the Lib Dems (like Obama) have identified a sweet spot in tax policy.

The position is simple: reward the lowest paid to ensure that work pays, and fund it by taxing the wealthiest in society (NB: not by jacking up higher-rate income tax but by ending tax benefits which accrue only to high-earners).

It’s an excellent match of economic liberalism and social justice that can be supported by any of the flowering groups in our party. Heck, we might even win back Daniel Radcliffe’s support if he realises we’re just like Obama really.

* Stephen was Editor (and Co-Editor) of Liberal Democrat Voice from 2007 to 2015, and writes at The Collected Stephen Tall.

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  • “The position is simple: reward the lowest paid to ensure that work pays, and fund it by taxing the wealthiest in society”

    Obama is not funding the tax break by taxing the wealthy, he is funding it from the social security programme itself. This is terrible policy, the country is so desperate to boost consumer spending that its paying its workers/consumers from its own retirement plan/ and leaving a huge black hole for future generations to deal with .
    “It’s an excellent match of economic liberalism and social justice ”

    No its the opposite of both.
    What “social justice” is there is in spending the retirement fund of a country?
    How is the government trying to artificially stimulate consumer spending “economic liberalism”?

  • @Geoffrey Payne Good point about the patriot act. Its not just that the democrates have not repealed it but in may 2011 President Barack Obama signed a four-year extension to he Act: with very little protest from any one in his party.

  • @Geoffrey Payne: Agreed. If you stuck Obama’s presidential record on a picture of George Bush, how many people would be able to tell they don’t match?

  • Obama is one of the best Presidents they have had, (though that doesn’t take much), and in reality any comparison to UK LibDems is academic. I am happy if they are learning things from us, especially if they do more about welfare and healthcare for the poor; and I am so glad that the headlong run we used to have for copying everything ‘American’ seems to have slackened off somewhat. Just need the BBC to report more of what goes on within the countries of Europe so that people start to feel we belong with our own continent. As for Daniel Radcliffe, who cares…!?

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