Skip to comments.A Redistributive State of the Union (That is essentially Obama's vision for America)
Posted on 01/25/2012 8:13:38 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Shortly after President Obama was elected, NBC News interviewed a young woman from Detroit named Peggy Joseph. She explained that she was excited about Obamas election because I wont have to worry about putting the gas in my car. I wont have to worry about paying my mortgage.
In the three years since, President Obama may not have actually paid her mortgage or filled up her tank, but judging from last nights State of the Union address, hes still trying.
The presidents address more campaign speech than policy platform was long on calls for fairness and opportunity, but it really boiled down to the presidents vision of a society where government does everything for everyone financed, of course, by higher taxes on the rich, who need to pay their fair share.
The presidents argument ignores the fact that the rich already pay a disproportionate share of federal income taxes. In fact, the much-reviled 1 percent earns 16 percent of all income in this country, but pays 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes. One might conclude that this group is already paying its fair share.
Take, for example, the presidents renewed push for a so-called Buffett rule, based on the idea, in Obamas oft-cited formulation, that investors such as Warren Buffett should not pay a lower effective tax rate than their secretaries. He even had Buffetts secretary, Debbie Bosanek, sitting in the presidential box.
Buffett makes most of his money from investment income (capital gains and interest), and he pays a capital-gains tax rate on that money. That tax rate could theoretically be lower than the tax rate that Ms. Bosanek pays on her wage-based income, although only if Ms. Bosaneks income is fairly high and she took few deductions. However, the presidents narrative ignores the fact that Buffetts income had already been taxed at the corporate level. When the effect of both taxes is combined, the real effective tax rate is closer to 45 percent. That is quite a high rate on an inherently risky activity investing that our tax code should encourage.
And significantly, note that the presidents solution to this supposed problem is not to reduce taxes on Ms. Bosanek, but to raise them on Mr. Buffett.
That is because the president sees the Buffett rule and his complaints about other tax loopholes as simply a tactic, the camels nose under the tent, in his desire for more money for the federal government. That is why his actual tax proposals, hidden behind rhetoric about millionaires and billionaires and the wealthiest 1 percent, would actually raise taxes on people earning as little as $200,000 per year, as well as many small businesses. And many of his proposals will probably hit people with incomes even lower.
And he wants that money so that he can spend it.
The president might have given lip service to the need to reduce deficits and the debt, but most of his speech was a laundry list of government programs to spend more money doing more things for more people. From health care to housing, from worker education to industrial policy, from green energy to college loans, the president sees the government as both the engine of our prosperity and the guarantor of fairness.
The presidents vision of the state of the union is a zero-sum one in which, if some people get rich, it must make other people poor. If Warren Buffett makes money, then Peggy Joseph wont have gas for her car. The only alternative is for the government to step in and make Mr. Buffett pay for Ms. Josephs gas.
Of course there is another option.
We all seek a society in which every American can reach his or her full potential, in which as few people as possible live in poverty, and in which no one must go without the basic necessities of life. More important, we want a society in which every person can live a fulfilling life. But the evidence is now inescapable that the best way to achieve that goal is not through welfare-state redistribution of wealth, but through the creation of more wealth. We should judge the success of our efforts not by how much charity we provide to the poor, but by how few people need such charity.
Would it not be a better America if we could make it possible for Ms. Joseph to get a better job so that she could afford her mortgage and her gas? For that matter, wouldnt we like a country where she could afford a bigger house and a second car? Nothing that the president has proposed would help bring that about.
Poverty, after all, is the natural condition of man. Indeed, throughout most of human history, man has existed in the most meager of conditions. Prosperity, on the other hand, is something that is created. And we know that the best way to create wealth is not through government action, but through the power of the free market. Last night, President Obama said, This nation is great because we worked as a team [and] have each others backs. Others might suggest that this nation is great because we are free.
We will probably spend the next year debating these two visions. Last nights speech was the start.
Michael Tanner is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Leviathan on the Right: How Big-Government Conservatism Brought Down the Republican Revo
My impression of Ms. Joseph is not that she wants a better job (or any job for that matter) but for someone else to pay her way.
TRANSLATION: “As President, I need more power. All this ‘Constitution’ business is inefficient, outdated and remote. I want Congress to grant me more power over the American people. If they refuse, this is bigger than both of us and WILL be done, with or without them.” - Loosely translated from Barack Obama’s SOTU 2012
“A claim for equality of material position can be met only by a government with totalitarian powers.”
Friedrich August von Hayek
TRANSLATION: As President, I need more power. All this Constitution business is inefficient, outdated and remote. I want Congress to grant me more power over the American people. If they refuse, this is bigger than both of us and WILL be done, with or without them. - Loosely translated from Barack Obamas SOTU 2012
Executive Order his power ? Give it to himself
I pledge allegiance to Adolf,I mean,Barack Obama!
I pledge allegiance to Adolf,I mean,Barack Obama!
Il Douche won’t have “paid her mortgage”. The producing class will have.
Obama’s remark was BS. He didn’t admit that that he is the one that has created all the tzars, a la bureaucracy. This is/was another example of his phony appeal to change our traditional government structure. There has to be tight vigilance to see and understand where this guy and his enablers changes will take the USA. I’m not comfortable as to this with the current Republican leaders. However, I’m sure Newt can sniff this out.