With much ado about absolutely nothing, and accompanied by his usual and so very delightful attacks on Republicans for clearly being motivated by nothing in this world beyond the desire to thwart him personally, President Obama introduced a faux attempt at a “grand bargain” in yet another speech on Tuesday wherein he would supposedly cede corporate tax reform to Republicans in exchange for “investments” in infrastructure and education, a raise in the minimum wage, etcetera. (…I.e., the only ideas he seems to have in relation to economic growth. One wonders how we ever managed to get along before the federal bureaucracy metastasized into its currently huge and malignant form.) The president also accused the GOP of “passing over long-term fiscal challenges” at the expense of the middle class — which is weird, seeing as how the president’s speech contained nary a mention of entitlement reform. Odd.

Of course, the president really has no intention of lowering tax burdens or even revenue neutrality; rather, the small reductions in rates he’s offering would be more than offset by the lost deductions and preferences with which he wants to do away, resulting in a net increase in revenue with which he can pay for his precious “investments.” The Republican leadership was not impressed:

“This proposal allows President Obama to support President Obama’s position on taxes and President Obama’s position on spending, while leaving small businesses and American families behind,” said Michael Steel, spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner. …

Plus Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell suggested the move could suck the wind out of an effort by a bipartisan duo on Capitol Hill to push for broad-based tax reform this year.

McConnell, on the floor said the proposal “represents a serious blow to one of the best chances for true bipartisan action in Washington.” He called it a “rebuke” to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who along with House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., is trying to build support nationally for a massive tax code overhaul.

Also, via Roll Call:

Lawmakers regarded President Barack Obama’s latest attempt to engage them on an economic proposal as largely irrelevant Tuesday, with neither Democrats nor Republicans viewing it as an actual step forward toward breaking their ongoing budget impasse. …

“I don’t think they’ve been acting in good faith. I really don’t, in the sense of really trying to bring both sides together,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, said Tuesday.

“I think they’re hoping that there will be some maverick Republicans who will ignore the basic Republican doctrines and do this with them with all the Democrats,” the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee continued. “It’s clear they want a very liberal approach toward everything, especially tax reform.” …

Anyhow, it’s really much more about creating a messaging platform from which to stand above the fray come the all-important 2014 midterms than any serious attempt at good-faith compromise, which is precisely what the president wants to be able to claim he’s doing. But as the WSJ explained, Obama’s “grand bargain” was meant to be a bargain for precisely nobody… except Obama:

This isn’t a serious proposal, and he knows it. It also isn’t bipartisan, since he is offering a compromise with appeal to the ideological spectrum running from Elizabeth Warren to Chuck Schumer. Perhaps these are the only Members of Congress whom Treasury Secretary Jack Lew has in his iPhone.

The real bipartisan reform opportunity would be to get behind the chief Senate and House tax writers, Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Dave Camp. They’ve been holding hearings on tax reform for years, and Mr. Baucus has even invited all Senators to send him a list of tax provisions they’d like to retain and why. …
The problem, as ever, is that Mr. Obama simply can’t get over his ideological fixation to keep tax rates as high as possible. We say “ideological” because his own advisers concede that a 35% rate hurts U.S. business competitiveness.