Category Archives: Taxes

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.

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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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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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Killing the messenger: Out for Joe’s blood

Predictably enough, the Associated Press and similar outlets have declared war on Joe Wurzelbacher, AKA “Joe the Plumber,” AKA the guy who dared ask Barack Obama an uncomfortable question when people were watching.

Questions have been brought to light about Wurzelbacher’s status as a plumber, his tax returns, his income, his voting history, and the size of the business he wants to buy.  The New York Times had a whole medley of sinister tales from the underbelly of the Wurzelbacher household in yesterday’s edition.  Joe himself has come under more scrutiny in the last two or three days than the press has bothered to exercise on Sen. Obama for two years.  All the result of a question Joe had the temerity to ask Obama before the senator could set up his TelePrompTer and focus-group the potential answers.

The Associated Press and its cohorts have missed the story yet again; they can villainize “Joe the Plumber” to their hearts’ content, but Obama’s response to him in Ohio still has a life of its own.

Looking back, Obama’s off-the-cuff answer to Joe’s worry that his taxes would rise under Obama’s tax plan is one he would doubtless like to “revise and extend.”  The senator slipped smoothly into professor mode and lectured the t-shirt-wearing “average guy” archetype in front of him on the virtues of “spreading the wealth around” through hideously lopsided taxation.  If Obama didn’t know it then, he surely has learned now that a blue-collar worker trying to pull his way up the economic ladder by the sweat of his own brow is probably not the ideal audience for a high-flying ode to the virtues of redistributionism.

The aftermath of Obama’s gaffe was the last thing he needed in the last 24 hours before the final debate.  Joemania — and I don’t mean Obama’s running mate — was front and center at Hofstra University as each candidate fought to yank away the mantle of “Champion of Joe the Plumber” (the man does have a last name, guys, by the way).  John McCain seemed to wear that mantle much more comfortably, as Obama spent most of his Joe-wooing time trying to persuade the audience that he didn’t really tell Joe what the videocamera says he told him in Ohio.  The post-debate consensus that McCain came across as Joe’s better bet of the two was confirmed in the new effort to discredit Joe Wurzelbacher as…well, it’s hard to tell, but the point appears to be that Joe’s question doesn’t matter, or shouldn’t have been asked, or something.

Lost in all of this new personal infodumping about Evil Joe Barackbane is the substance of his original conversation with Obama.  Here’s the thing:  what hurt Obama about that conversation isn’t who Joe is; it’s what Obama told him. His “spreading the wealth around” comment provided a rare insight into Obama’s feelings about the role of government in directing the economy and the relationship of the government to private citizens who work for a living.  Overtaxing businesses and individuals for the purpose of passing on the proceeds to the less fortunate, executed on a governmental scale, is a recipe for economic disaster.  It’s been demonstrated in the past, and it’s part of long-established American conventional wisdom.

The ominous “spreading the wealth” rhetoric was the weapon McCain brought to the debate against Obama, not “Joe the Plumber,” which was no more than a pleasing marketing package.  Tearing down Joe Wurzelbacher doesn’t change a thing about that unscripted glimpse into Obama’s fascination with redistributionist economic doctrine.  In fact, the tarnishing of the “Joe the Plumber” brand will force McCain to rely more on the phrase “spreading the wealth around,” which goes more to the heart of why the home video of that exchange in Ohio went viral so quickly and led to so many second looks at Barack Obama.

It’s not about who likes “Joe the Plumber.”  It’s about who supports the government’s “spreading the wealth around.”

UPDATE: Captain Ed has more insight on the perils of questioning The Anointed.  Miz Michelle christens “Operation Destroy Joe the Plumber” (I’m a little disappointed…she couldn’t have come up with something better?  Operation Rip Out the Pipes?  Operation Plumbing New Depths?  Operation Kitchen Sink?  You’ve got gold here, Michelle, c’mon…)

UPDATE II: Oh, good gawd.  Daily Kos and other leftward blogs (none of whom I’ll dignify with a link) are soiling themselves over unconfirmed reports that some relative of Joe Wurzelbacher’s is Charles Keating’s son-in-law and a GOP donor.  (Joe’s reported response: “I don’t know anything about that.”)  So what would this mean?  That Obama worked his way along a rope line and picked himself a McCain plant for a question?

“I’m not a socialist, but I talk like one on TV”

Redistribution of wealth through taxation of the top earners and handouts to the bottom is a hallmark of socialist economic theory.  So why does Barack Obama and his surrogates chafe so mightily when the word “socialism” comes up, especially when Obama takes exactly that stance on the campaign trail?

Witness this encounter with a plumber who would see his taxes go up under an Obama administration:

In case you missed it, here’s the transcript:

Unnamed Plumber: “Your new tax plan is going to tax me more. Isn’t it?”

Obama: “It’s not that I want to punish your success, I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

No, Sen. Obama doesn’t want to punish anybody’s success.  All he’s going to do is confiscate the fruits of that success through taxation, and hand them out to those who either didn’t succeed or didn’t even try.  In modern political parlance, we call that “welfare.”  In classical economic theory, we call it “socialism.”

Either way, it’s tough to dress up Obama’s tax plan as anything other than “socialism,” whether you call it “spreading the wealth around” or not.  Maybe that’s why the word “socialism” gets so many goats in the Obama camp.

Instapundit, Miz Michelle, and Power Line have more.

UPDATE: “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Earned”… it’s the rich creamy goodness of WealthSpread! (H/T People’s Cube.)

UPDATE II: The plumber is no longer “Unnamed Plumber.” His name is Joe Wurzelbacher, he was just interviewed on Neil Cavuto’s “Your World,” and he was plenty unsettled by his conversation with Sen. Obama.  (Yes, he dejectedly used the “S” word as well.)

“We’re going to get a little tougher” UPDATE: Even Alec Baldwin, Senator!

Well, they’d better hope so.

According to the Washington Post, the McCain campaign and the Republicans are “readying a newly aggressive assault” for the final month of the election season, moving away from John McCain’s maverick-war-hero biography and shifting focus to Barack Obama and his associates; senior campaign officials offered Tony Rezko and William Ayers as examples.  (I love the WaPo’s description of Ayers, “whom the McCain campaign regularly calls a domestic terrorist because of his acts of violence against the U.S. government in the 1960s.” [Emphasis mine.]  Well, what would you call him?)

Sources at the campaign say that the new ad I touched on earlier, taking Obama to task over his description of himself as a “tax cutter,” was the leading edge of this new aggressive stance.  Hot Air backs me up that McCain will have to do better than that, and the best way to do it is to go national hammering the Democrats’ opposition to his drive for tightened oversight of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Details, and a dimly encouraging quote from McCain, below the break.

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