Obama's middle class 'help' is useless

Here's what President Obama's plan for the middle class gets me — nothing

All we hear from President Barack Obama is that he is for the middle class. Well, I consider myself middle class. I am a retired homeowner, so let's see how this pans out for me.

1. Estates to pay capital gains taxes on securities at the time they're inherited. Doesn't affect me but will hurt my children. Because I was self-employed, most of my retirement income comes from stocks and bonds.

2. Expanding the child care tax credit, offering up to $3,000 per child for families making up to $120,000 a year. And it would include a new $500 credit to "second earners" in a family to help a spouse pay for additional costs entailed when both spouses work — like child care. No help for me here as both my children are grown and my youngest grandchild is 15.

3. Free community college. The president wants to offer two years of free community college to students who can keep a 2.5 grade point average. The White House estimates the program would cost the federal government roughly $60 billion over 10 years. The White House wants the federal government covering three-quarters of tuition costs and states picking up the rest. Again, no help for me but I do see a potential for huge debt for my grandchildren.

4. President Obama is urging Congress and local governments to back measures allowing workers to earn up to a week of paid sick time a year. As part of this effort, he wants Congress to approve more than $2 billion in new spending to encourage states to create paid family and medical leave programs. In addition, Mr. Obama will take steps to provide federal employees with up to six weeks of paid sick leave to care for a new child. And he'll propose that Congress pass legislation to give federal workers an additional six weeks of paid parental leave. Again, no help for me and another major debt to be paid for by someone. I wonder who is going to pick up this additional cost?

5. Mr. Obama earlier this month announced plans to save homeowners $900 a year. Under the plan, the Federal Housing Administration mortgage premium will drop from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent. In addition to the 250,000 new home buyers the White House hopes to attract — a figure that marks a modest increase in sales — administration officials said the rate cut would help 800,000 homeowners refinance their mortgages. My house is paid for now, again no help for me.

Where is the help for me? I'm middle class. How about a tax cut on dividends and interest on my retirement income? That would help. Get the government out of my money, Mr. Obama, and stop finding ways to spend it.

Craig Garfield, Ellicott City

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