Green Room

Obama’s fairness doctrine a recipe for AMP (Assured Mass Poverty)

posted at 12:46 pm on January 29, 2012 by

In his populist lectures on income equality, Barack Obama has long tossed around terms that beg for clarification. Last July, when a battle raged over extending the debt ceiling, he said:

I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am … able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their [sic] kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve [sic] got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans. [Emphasis added]

In a column back then, I made a whimsical reference to an additional income reserve (AIR), a cash source that could be tapped, at least in the president’s worldview, to pay down the nation’s debt.

In an article at The Freeman, editor Sheldon Richman remarked on some of the will-o’-the-wisp notions Obama used to pepper his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Highlighting the line “[Americans] understand that when I get tax breaks I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit,” Richman writes:

[W]hat’s need got to do with it? Does Obama really favor a tax system that leaves you only what you need—as determined by someone else? And look at that term “tax breaks.” If a burglar decides not to break into your house and take your things, have you gotten a break? Or have you simply kept what is yours? Is Obama really suggesting that how much of your income you retain should depend on what “the country” can afford? What does that even mean?

I think what is means is that, when all is said and done, the president prefers a level playing field above all else—and he isn’t especially concerned about how high that level happens to be. I maintain that, left to his devices, Obama would sooner preside over a country where everyone had little than a land of haves and have-nots.

Consider his unorthodox view of what constitutes wealth. For the first two years of his presidency, Obama hammered away repeatedly at the idea that any couple earning over $250,000 a year was “rich.” In fact, even though he has since reset his sights on punishing millionaires, he still seems to consider those earning $250,000 as wealthy. In the SOTU he said:

In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up.

He failed to specify what he thinks should be the fate of a broad swath of the population—those earning less than $1 million but at least $250,000—but it’s not hard to imagine, given his distate for the well-to-do.

One of his favorite bullet points in his economic fairness pitch these days is increasing the tax on capital gains for the wealthiest Americans from its current rate of 15% to at least 30%. What he fails to acknowledge is that such an increase is already set to happen, and not just for millionaires. Roberton Williams of the Tax Policy Center notes that if the Bush tax cuts are permitted to expire and ObamaCare remains the law of the land, taxes associated with that legislation will drive the maximum tax rate on capital gains up to 25 percent by 2013. The Carleson Center for Public Policy notes that over the last 40 years, every time the capital gains tax rate has been increased, revenues have declined.

But it’s not just the rich (whoever they are) who will be affected by the increase. Despite an 11-point decline since 2007 in the percentage of Americans who invest in the stock market, a robust 54% are still investors. If they are forced to sell off securities, which is not hard to imagine in an economy in the throes of a slow and jobless recovery, they too will be hurt. But at least the pain will be shared equally.

Now that we know what Obama’s singing voice sounds like, one can almost hear the commander in chief crooning this 1927 populist ditty.

Related Articles

Recently in the Green Room:

Blowback

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The “fairness doctrine” has been fought successfully before.

Behold the IRON LADY!

Opposite Day on January 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

I think that Obama might be a socialist.

slp on January 29, 2012 at 5:43 PM

He failed to specify what he thinks should be the fate of a broad swath of the population—those earning less than $1 million but at least $250,000—but it’s not hard to imagine, given his distate for the well-to-do.

As long as those well-to-do are not himself, his wife or his friends.

catsandbooks on January 29, 2012 at 6:48 PM

It occurs to me that I should draft an open letter to the president explaining my general financial difficulties, contrasting them with his obvious wealth, and ask him to send me some of the money he obviously does not need or want to help me out.

Why, if I were a journalist or other public figure, with a pulpit from which to shout I would.

SpikeRHSC on January 30, 2012 at 1:58 AM


HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint

Fixing crime in America is a complicated issue

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 8:31 PM
Top Pick

Cops alone won’t solve it.

Top Pick

Victim’s father was President Maduro’s supervisor back when he was a bus driver.

Democrats forgot all about the “era of good feelings”

“Bernie and Jane Sanders have lawyered up.”

“the Judiciary Committee is examining the circumstances surrounding the removal of James Comey.”

Winning isn’t everything. It is the only thing

Trump signs VA reform bill into law

John Sexton Jun 23, 2017 2:41 PM

“What happened was a national disgrace, and yet some of the employees involved in these scandals remained on the payrolls.”

A new era of something.

“…died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S.”

The shortsightedness of “Denounce and Preserve”

Taylor Millard Jun 23, 2017 12:11 PM

Pragmatism for the sake of pragmatism doesn’t always work.

Perhaps if you threw in a new car?

Gay marriages still growing, but not as fast

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 10:31 AM

More, but not as quickly.

Should’ve stuck with the pirate gig. It was working for him

The battle for the rubble of Raqqa is underway

Andrew Malcolm Jun 23, 2017 8:51 AM

Won’t be much left.

Your list of demands is a publicity stunt

“what happened that day was emblematic of a deeply troubling trend among progressives…”

“The jobs are still leaving. Nothing has stopped.”

Bad vendor. Bad! No cookie!

“The Corps is just starting to grapple with the issues the court has identified.”

“So you want me to sing my praises, is that what you’re saying?”

Why would we possibly want that?

“I mean he sold our country to The Russians.”

I could think of someone else you might want to ask about…

“You can ask a hundred people what hate speech is and you get a thousand different answers”

Trump: I never made any recordings of Comey

Allahpundit Jun 22, 2017 2:01 PM

Bluff.

Hackers stole private data from election databases

John Sexton Jun 22, 2017 1:21 PM

“90,000 records stolen by Russian state actors contained drivers license numbers”

Failure to protect the city

Big man on the Middle Eastern campus

Biased Americans see media as biased.

Tough times down on the liberal ranch

Will Nancy Pelosi survive this latest Dem disaster?

Andrew Malcolm Jun 22, 2017 8:41 AM

Eat quick, before it’s gone.

Slow your roll, boss

“I’m bothered by the lack of emerging evidence…”

FIrst look at the Senate health bill

John Sexton Jun 21, 2017 9:21 PM

“the Senate bill would go farther than the House version in its approach to cutting Medicaid spending.”

Divide and conquer?