I bet you all figured out by now that this week is Class Warfare week. And I bet you all want to know what the famous Dr. of Psychiatry, Charles Krauthammer, has to say about President Obama’s plan to fix our government’s debt problem with a mixture of spending cuts and, (are you sitting down? You might want to sit down for this.) tax increases.
I think Dr. Krauthammer went off his meds and was suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome when he wrote this one:
…the new Obama, today’s soak-the-rich, veto-threatening, self-proclaimed class warrior. Except that the new Obama is really the old Obama — the one who, upon entering office in the middle of a deep economic crisis, and determined not to allow “a serious crisis to go to waste” (to quote his then-chief of staff), exploited the (presumed) malleability of a demoralized and therefore passive citizenry to enact the largest Keynesian stimulus in recorded history, followed by the quasi-nationalization of one-sixth of the economy that is health care.
But this is more than a political calculation. It is more than just a pander to his base. It is a pander to himself: Obama is a member of his base. He believes this stuff. It is an easy and comfortable political shift for him, because it’s a shift from a phony centrism back to his social-democratic core, from positioning to authenticity.
The authentic Obama is a leveler, a committed social democrat, a staunch believer in the redistributionist state, a tribune, above all, of “fairness” — understood as government-imposed and government-enforced equality.
That’s why “soak the rich” is not just a campaign slogan to rally the base. It’s a mission, a vocation. It’s why, for all its gratuitous cynicism and demagoguery, Obama’s populist Rose Garden lecture on Monday was delivered with such obvious — and unusual — conviction.
President Obama is a self-proclaimed “Class Warrior?” Really? I’ve never heard him refer to himself as a class warrior. “Soak the Rich” is one of his campaign slogans? Really? I’ve never seen that on his website or on a bumper sticker.
I have written numerous times about how the Republicans have screwed the middle class, the poor, and the infirmed. How they have tried to marginalize homosexuals and non-Christians, but I’ve never said that their candidates use campaign slogans like “Screw the Middle Class!” or “Doing all We can to Rid our Country of the Poor and People with Pre-Existing Conditions!” or “Exterminate the Homos!” or “Atheists Suck!” No doubt that many of the candidates believe all of those slogans, but you’ll never see them used in their campaign ads or on bumper stickers.
And Krauthammer says Obama is “a member of his base” as if there’s something wrong with that. And he thinks Obama’s centrism is phony? If only it were! In reality its been anything but phony for the past three years, much to the dismay of people like me who voted for him.
If the good doctor thinks that raising the income-tax rate on the super rich by four or five percent and taxing capital gains like any other income is “soaking the rich,” one has to wonder what he thinks of the patron saint of Republicanism, Ronald Reagan, who raised the capital gains tax to 28% “out of fairness,” (Ronnie’s words, not mine), when he lowered the top-marginal rate to that same rate. Was Ronald Reagan soaking the rich? If not, how is Obama’s plan to increase the capital gains rate from its absurdly low rate of 15% to something like 20% or 25% soaking them? They’d only be paying something closer to what people who work for a living pay.
If proposing to increase taxes on people earning over $250,000 is class warfare, what does that make the Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats who have fought long and hard to lower capital gains taxes, inheritance taxes, and marginal income-tax rates so that the super rich – who have seen their income quadruple over the past 20 years – now pay the lowest effective tax rate in over 50 years? Those wealth-protecting congressmen are like superheros for the rich. They waged war on the middle class so that the rich can pocket more profits gained from paying lower wages and reduced benefits to their workers – and now they pay lower taxes on all that extra income! The super rich love their superhero congressmen because now they can use all that extra cash to purchase mega-mansions, million dollar cars, yachts, and jewels. And if they have so much money that they can’t spend it all, they can pass their excess wealth down to their children who will be so rich they won’t even have to work. Why would they work when they can live a lush life off of capital gains and pay a lower tax rate than their chauffeurs and body guards?
Yes, that’s life in Krauthammer’s America, and every good Republican believes his fairy tale because it’s been told so many times that they too believe they will someday benefit from a tax system that is rigged to benefit only a tiny sliver of our population that holds tremendous wealth and power.