Category Archives: Economics

Will you be rich come Inauguration Day?

No, I’m not talking about Gwen Ifill’s book-selling prospects in the event that Barack Obama wins.

I’m talking about the sinking bar for the Democrats’ definition of “rich” as it pertains to the threshold income level at which Obama’s tax plan would really pack a wallop. Where do you step out from beneath the protective umbrella of the hallowed, untouchable middle class and graduate to state cash-cow status? Are you safe from the Obama harvesting machine if you make less than:

  1. $1,000,000
  2. $250,000
  3. $200,000
  4. $150,000
  5. $120,000
  6. $70,000
  7. $41.500
  8. All of the above

Well, if Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, any number of various Obama campaign bigs, and Obama himself are to be believed, the answer can only be “All of the above.”

During the Democratic primaries, where class envy was an easier sell and solid economic plans were not yet necessary, Obama contented himself with railing against “millionaires,” which had more of a personal touch than “corporations” and allowed for comparisons of personal income. Same bugaboo, different tax form.

After Obama’s nomination, he released his tax plan to the public, declaring (as he did in July at a gathering in Georgia), “If you make $250,000 a year or less, we will not raise your taxes. We will cut your taxes!” This figure came up repeatedly during the debates. And there was much rejoicing among the acolytes.

Last weekend, the Obama campaign released a TV ad in which their candidate assured us, “If you have a job, pay taxes, and make less than $200,000 a year, you will get a tax cut.” The candidate said this would apply to “95% of working Americans,” a figure I and others (including the AP and CBS News) have said numerous times is a mathematical impossibility.

Then came Tuesday, when Obama’s running-mate, Sen. Joe Biden, lowered the bar further to $150,000. It was at about this point that the serial bar-lowering turned into a great ad opportunity for the McCain campaign.

There’s more lurking in the background, however, that the campaign had to leave out for time’s sake…it looks like he’s been shining us on all along. In an interview in 2003, toward the beginning of his Senate campaign, Obama pegs the middle-class upper income limit at $70,000. How thoughtful…looks like he’s just slipping lower and lower numbers by us so that he might ease us into our newfound “richness.”

At least that would go some way toward explaining his recent loyal support and vote for the Democrat-crafted budget bill for FY 2009, which slapped a tax hike on individuals making as little as $41,500. I can just see all those middle-class folks basking in their newfound patriotism as they join the ranks of the nouveau riche.

Oh, hell, I feel richer already.

UPDATE: The McCain campaign’s “Slippery Slope” ad (referenced in the $150,000 paragraph above) has been updated to include the Richardson clip. Unfortunately, it’s way too long for a 30-second spot, and looks to be restricted to Web-ad status.

Sharing toys vs. Redistributing them

As if it weren’t eye-popping enough for Joe Biden to get in Katie Couric’s face and insist that paying higher taxes is a “patriotic” act, now Barack Obama is taking that ball and running with it, equating opposition to redistributionism with “selfishness”:

John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness. You know, the next thing, the next thing I know they’re gonna, you know, find evidence of my communistic tendencies because I shared my toys when I was in kindergarten.

If I’ve said this before, I’ve said it a thousand times: there is nothing selfish or inhumane about opposition to higher taxes and government-mandated wealth redistribution, especially given the history of both. Sen. Obama is a contemptible demagogue for trying to pass off this doctrinaire statism as virtuous in comparison.

Explanation, including a more apt vision of little Barack in kindergarten sharing his (and other people’s) toys, below the break.

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Bill Clinton, always eager to help

Two weeks after Jesse Jackson did his part in promoting Obama with a jubilant announcement to an international audience in Europe that an Obama administration would put Israel in its place diplomatically, now Bill Clinton is pitching in with some “help” of his own.

Clinton was in Florida with Obama for a mend-the-fences rally (full speech text here), and Clinton proudly declared to the crowd that the great thing about Obama’s performance during the early days of the financial meltdown is that he was completely clueless:

“I haven’t cleared this with him and he may even be mad at me for saying this so close to the election, but I know what else he said to his economic advisers (during the crisis),” Clinton told the crowd at a Wednesday night rally with Obama in Florida. “He said, ‘Tell me what the right thing to do is. What’s the right thing for America? Don’t tell me what’s popular. You tell me what’s right — I’ll figure out how to sell it.’”

Now, I don’t expect Obama to have all the answers, any more than I do McCain. As Allahpundit points out, even Alan Greenspan was caught unawares by the severity of the collapse. However, I do not expect a prospective president to run around like a headless chicken, shouting “What’ll I do?? What’ll I do??” And what’s that about “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it”? Who is this man now, Joe Isuzu? It would be one thing if Obama had collected an ad hoc brain trust and brought along some ideas of his own for a brainstorming session, or at least some core economic and philosophical guidelines to keep his thoughts on track. Instead, Clinton tells a story of a greenhorn pleading for a script and a TelePrompTer.

Clinton ticked off a list of people he says Obama called:

I knew what he was doing. He talked to his advisers, he talked to my economic advisers. He called Hillary. He called me…

And now we get down to the real message. Barack Obama is an awesome pick because he goes to the Clinton Brigade first.

You know, I really do believe that the former president was genuinely trying to pay Obama a sincere compliment. That’s the worst part. Bill Clinton appears constitutionally incapable of saying anything without making it all about Bill Clinton (although, as in the above quote, he’ll occasionally throw Hillary a bone). He wants to make Obama look good, but by boiling Obama’s thought processes down to “you tell me what’s right, I’ll figure out how to sell it,” Clinton turns him into the textbook definition of an empty suit.

Oh, sure, NOW they tell us…

Now that the Obamfomercial has filtered into the public consciousness, a spark of epiphany flickers in the unblinking eye of Barack Obama’s major-network entourage: the senator’s economic numbers — mirabile et horribile dictu! — don’t add up.

As I noted in my anti-liveblog on the mega-ad, the Associated Press was fairly quick to post a lengthy fact-check dossier on Obama’s cross-spectrum waste of time. CBS appears to be the latest to comprehend this late-dawning horror. Mercy me, can it be true?

If he closes every loophole as promised, saves every dime from Iraq, raises taxes on the rich and trims the federal budget as he’s promised to do “line by line,” he still doesn’t pay for his list. If he’s elected, the first fact hitting his desk will be the figure projecting how much less of a budget he has to work with – thanks to the recession. He gave us a very compelling vision with his ad buy tonight. What he did not give us was any hint of the cold reality he’s facing or a sense of how he might prioritize his promises if voters trust him with the White House.

And it only took them until the weekend before the election to put 2 and 2 together, so to speak.

Making the business tax argument funny

The Tax Foundation held a video submission contest for amateur YouTube videos explaining, quickly and simply, how the business tax works, what effects it has on the economy, and why American business taxes are too high. The winners range from the edgy, fast-paced crash-course:

…to the funny, kitschy period piece:

(That second one reminds me of the hysterical employee orientation video from “Harvey Birdman” [Part 1 and Part 2 on YouTube], except way shorter.)

The videos are imaginative, fascinating, and surprisingly instructive given the necessary limits on breadth and depth. The upshot of the argument, as the common thread running through these videos, is that virtually the only country in the world that is not benefitting from high American corporate tax rates is…well, America.

If only this contest had been held weeks ago, McCain might have saved himself a lot of grief, not to mention gained himself a few awesome ads…

(H/T the Corner.)

How much more will it take to convince you?

[UPDATE: Welcome, Fox News “Embeds” readers! Feel free to have a look around.]

Joe the Plumber is getting more and more difficult to dismiss as the concoction of Fox News and Karl Rove. (By the way, I’m thinking of starting an informal betting pool on how many years it will take for Democrats to stop blaming their own PR goofs on Karl Rove’s mind control rays.)

With the emergence of a new audio clip from a 2001 radio interview with then-State Sen. Barack Obama, the uncomfortable whiff of socialism rising off Obama’s “spreading the wealth around” gaffe two weeks ago in his exchange with Joe Wurzelbacher is getting tougher to write off as something blown out of proportion by “desperate” McCainiacs.

Details and excerpts below the break. (Miz Michelle points out that a private citizen with no special resources uncovered this clip, scooping all major media organizations in doing so. Aren’t they supposedly paid to do this kind of thing?)

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Who’da thunk it? WaPo pins crisis on Democrats

An editorial in Monday’s Washington Post sets the record straight — at long, long, long, long, long, long last — on who bears the lion’s share of the blame for the current economic collapse. (Link via Captain Ed.)

Now that the worst is over and people have settled on the Bush Administration and John McCain as the blameworthy ones, the WaPo has jumped in to save the day with their brilliant revelation (which the hobos of the blogosphere have been screaming at the top of our virtual lungs for weeks now) that everybody’s got it precisely backwards.

They’ve finally clued in to the fact that the culprit was the deliberate loosening of lending standards by Democrats so that poor people (read: people to whom no sensible lender would ever think of issuing a mortgage) would be able to take out a home loan, regardless of ability to pay the thing back.  Not only that, but Bush and McCain in particular pushed more than once to exercise tighter oversight over this lax new policy’s primary vehicles, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  These efforts at better regulation were stiffarmed at every turn by Banking Committee Democrats in the House such as Barney Frank and Maxine Waters, and those in the Senate such as Christopher Dodd and — the horror! — Barack Obama.  Dodd and Obama each took more campaign money from Fannie and Freddie lobbyists than all 98 of their Senate colleagues, which is an achievement for Obama, who has been in the Senate less than four years.

In Hot Air’s “Quote of the Day,” Allahpundit cites Orson Scott Card (described in an Editor’s Note as “a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism”):

If you [in the journalistic trade] want to redeem your honor, you will swallow hard and make a list of all the stories you would print if it were McCain who had been getting money from Fannie Mae, McCain whose campaign had consulted with its discredited former CEO, McCain who had voted against tightening its lending practices.

Then you will print them, even though every one of those true stories will point the finger of blame at the reckless Democratic Party, which put our nation’s prosperity at risk so they could feel good about helping the poor, and lay a fair share of the blame at Obama’s door.

Read the whole opinion piece, because it’s a scorcher.