President Obama likes to talk about “winning the future.” His version of “winning” is not even as credible as Charlie Sheen’s. Case in point was Obama’s speech on the deficit yesterday. Obama invoked his “winning the future” mantra yet again, while offering a re-packaged, partisan version of his deeply flawed deficit-reduction plan and resorting to fear-mongering and exploitation of emotions in place of reasoned analysis.
President Obama’s response to the serious deficit reduction proposals put forth by House Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), was nothing more than a petulant variation on two tired themes – class warfare and blaming George W. Bush for virtually every problem confronting Obama today — including the growing national debt. In fact, Vice president Joe Biden had heard this boring nonsense so many times before that he actually dozed off.
The New York Times, on the other hand, loved what its lead editorial today called the “reinvigorated” Obama. The Times will never get bored of trying to paint the Republicans as monsters trying to crush seniors and the poor,
while giving the rich $1 trillion in tax cuts
Let’s start with Obama’s attempt to blame his predecessors, most notably George W. Bush, for the deficits he is forced to tackle. Obama has racked up more deficits in his first two years in office than Bush did during his entire 8 years. A picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a graph depicting the Bush and Obama years, as well as Obama’s own projections for future trillion dollar deficits:
Next, let’s consider Obama’s class warfare arguments. He wants to crush the nation’s job creators with higher taxes. Even the left-wing Media Matters does not dispute that 50% of Americans have paid virtually no federal income taxes at all.
Here is data based on the 2008 tax year compiled by the National Tax Union from the Internal Revenue Service:
Tax Year 2008
|Percentiles Ranked by AGI||AGI Threshold on Percentiles||Percentage of Federal Personal Income Tax Paid|
|Note: AGI is Adjusted Gross Income
Source: Internal Revenue Service
Yet Obama wants to require small business owners and others earning more than $200,000 a year (or $250,000 for married couples filing jointly) to pay even more of their earned income in taxes, rather than use that income to plow into their businesses or investments and help create more jobs.
If Obama is so concerned about “the wealthiest Americans” not paying their fair share, why doesn’t he go after his friends at General Electric? Obama’s favorite company, whose CEO Jeffrey Immelt was selected to serve as chairman of the Obama administration’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness , earned $14.2 billion in profits in 2010, but paid absolutely no federal income taxes. GE’s untaxed profits included more than $5 billion from U.S. operations.
By the way, Obama’s choice to head his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness has overseen GE’s layoff of 21,000 American workers and closure of 20 factories. Despite all this, Obama’s spokesman said just recently that the president continues to have faith in his pal Immelt to run the council. I guess Obama is only interested in selective class warfare while protecting his rich buddies.
Obama talked about spending cuts in his speech but offered only generalities. Without proposing any serious structural reform to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in order to save them from bankruptcy and ensure that future generations of seniors and the poor will be able to receive federal assistance, Obama fell back on vague promises to cut spending and touted his discredited Obamacare program as an important contribution to that effort.
Obama did show his cards on one cost-reducing technique he is relying on to trim Medicare expenses – a federal panel that will substitute its judgment for the judgment of the patient and his or her own doctor as to what constitutes appropriate medical care for the patient:
we will slow the growth of Medicare costs by strengthening an independent commission of doctors, nurses, medical experts and consumers who will look at all the evidence and recommend the best ways to reduce unnecessary spending while protecting access to the services seniors need.
“Need” by whose definition? The federal government’s expert panels, of course.
Class warfare may play well to Obama’s base, and he may temporarily bump his poll numbers as he exploits populist sentiments. But if Obama’s job crushing tax increases and centralized government power over individuals’ medical treatments should ever become a reality, we will all be losers.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam