By Fareed Zakaria
“This pudding lacks a theme,” Winston Churchill once said of his dessert. The same might have been said of Barack Obama’s election campaign, which started strong with his State of the Union address in January and then meandered. It appears finally to have settled on a theme — but it is the wrong one.
Recently the president and his advisers have focused on taxing the rich and tackling inequality. The “Buffett rule” tax on millionaires has become Obama’s bumper sticker. The proposal is reasonable — but does not deserve the attention Obama is showering on it. It raises a trivial sum, $47 billion over the next 10 years, during which period the federal government will spend $45 trillion. It adds one more layer to a tax code that is already the most complex and corrupt in the industrialized world. If the president wants to be bold, he could propose comprehensive tax reform and eliminate the hundreds of deductions, exemptions, credits and loopholes, many of which Congress sells in exchange for campaign contributions.