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:
- 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.