Class Warfare the Last Refuge of a Failed Presidency

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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Now that Mitt Romney will be Obama’s opponent in November, the Democrats are rolling out the false narrative they will use to demonize Romney and obscure four years of failed economic policies that have created the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression. In two recent speeches, Obama has begun heating up his class warfare rhetoric in an attempt to paint Republicans as the heartless minions of greedy capitalists who increase their wealth at the expense of everybody else.

On April 3, Obama went after Representative Paul Ryan and his budget, which Obama linked explicitly to Romney. Ryan’s budget actually addresses the key problems of out of control government spending and rapidly metastasizing entitlement costs, the looming fiscal train-wreck that Obama and the Democrats have avoided dealing with for over 3 years. Masking this dereliction of duty, Obama in his speech instead piled up lie after lie about Ryan’s budget, spicing the whole with question-begging rhetoric. Financial aid cut for 10 million college students, 1,600 fewer grants for Alzheimer’s and AIDS research, clean energy technology cut by a fifth, 200,000 pre-schoolers banished from Head Start, 2 million mothers and children denied healthy food, cuts to the Department of Justice and the FBI, national parks closed, air, food, and water safety compromised, less accurate weather forecasts, more flight cancellations at airports––this whole catalogue of apocalyptic disasters is a patent lie, one worsened by the charge that Ryan’s budget is “thinly veiled social Darwinism” designed to further enrich the already bloated 1% by ruthlessly cutting government programs. In fact, the Ryan budget increases spending from $3.6 trillion this year to almost $4.9 trillion in 2022.

A week later, in Boca Raton Florida Obama was at it again, beating the drum of tax “fairness” as he proposed imposing the “Buffet Rule” on those earning more than $1 million to force them to “pay their fair share,” which Obama puts at 30%. This idea that rich Americans are tax deadbeats was given traction by billionaire Warren Buffet, the tax-shelter king who popularized the myth that millionaires pay taxes at a lower rate than ordinary Americans because the rich pay most of their taxes at the capital-gains rate of 15%. In actual fact, as NRO points out, Americans in the $40-$50 thousand income bracket pay an effective rate of 3.2% in federal income tax, 80% of U.S. households are taxed at a rate less than 15%, and half pay nothing at all. As for those dastardly millionaires, the rate for most of them is already 30%, while 10% pay less and another 10% pay more, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Worse yet, the amount of revenue the Buffet Rule would raise is $5 billion a year––“or less than 0.5% of the $1.2 trillion fiscal 2012 budget deficit and over the next decade a mere 0.1% of the $45.43 trillion the federal government will spend,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Obviously, this is not enough revenue to “stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade,” as Obama has claimed. In fact, to close the deficit in 2035, when entitlement spending will blow up the budget, tax revenues would require a surreal rate of 223% on the highest tax bracket. Nor will this Buffet Rule pittance do anything to rein in federal spending, projected to reach 50% of GDP by 2060 because of runaway entitlement costs destined to expand even further if Obamacare survives. Finally, the idea that the extra revenues generated by the Buffet Rule would be used to lower the deficit flies in the face of history, which shows that every dollar of increased revenues leads to at least $1.17 of government spending. As Milton Friedman once said, “Politicians will always spend every penny of tax raised and whatever else they can get away with.”

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  • Dispozadaburka

    Think of the consequences of promising money that we no longer have.

  • John C. Davidson

    The Democrat are desparate to retain power in order to cover the theft of more than a trillion dollars under the false pretense it was stimulating the economy.

    We now are witnessing their agents coming out to distract our attention from that very revelation. Anita Dunn, Van Jones openly while Stern & Trumks are staying in the background, but their cronies fill the streets all over America carrying Commie signs and passing out cash.to every radical they can muster up.

  • Spider

    The recoveries from both the Great Depression and the Great Recession were both presided over by extremely liberal democrats – both with the same results. It is proven fact that Rosevelts economic policies extended the effects of the depression by more that 10 years and Obama has extended the recession by 4 years (so far). In both cases the use of government intervention and crackpot leftist economic policies was the problem not the solution.

    • Jim_C

      Bread lines and riots are more your speed, Spider?

      • Spider

        We will very soon have riots and bread lines when the government runs out of money just like Greece.

  • StephenD

    We could change politics in America with one simple rule. If you don't pay into the system – for whatever reason – you have no say on how the money is spent. If those that don't pay taxes are not allowed to vote, every single person in politics would change their focus. Immediately they would pay attention to those that can put them in office or take them out, which would be those paying the tab. In half a heartbeat, they would all suddenly be careful with how they spend our money. Their focus would no longer be on “redistributing” someone else’s money but on wisely using what they have…WISELY using what they have. America could be back on top in less time it takes to the IRS to process the taxes.

  • SassyFrasse

    RE: "in Boca Raton Florida Obama was at it again, beating the drum of tax “fairness”"

    ……….it is appropriate that "Boca Raton" loosely translated means, Mouth of the RAT!

    • Amused

      " raton " spoken with the "r " as a rolling r , means MOUSE . What the hell have you got against Boca Raton ?

      • SassyFrasse

        Replying to Amused

        ……….If there's ever a price on your head, take it.

  • Lrnglbrt

    Democrats have all degenerated into bottom-feeding parasites.

    • Jim_C

      I thought they wanted to tax the top .1%?

      That's "top-feeding."

  • Jay

    Make this a NOVEMBER to REMEMBER!

  • BLJ

    Obama is the lowest of the low. Why should anything he says or does surprise anyone? He is an empty suit and a real enemy to the United States of America.

  • maria

    Obama lies as it is main weapon for socialists and Muslims. He is both of it. First lady in one of the latest interview responded to journalist question about Obama low rate " God bless, Media is on our side." Media controlled by Leftists (90%) is one of the serious problem. Second one is using race card and mob mass violation.
    Obama's cousin in Kenia was defeated by another candidate for President. Obama adviced him to make a riot and cousin followed his advice starting civil war. The new Kenia President to stop civil war invited him to share presidency in Kenia. BHO and his accomplices prepare the same scenario using first of all Black panthers, Al Sharpton and Jeccy Jackson mobs. That is why they play racial card with G. Zimmerman (poor guy). The criminality rate in Chicago is up by 60 % and it is BHO administration work result. He must be stopped
    till it's too late.

  • Ronald Johnston

    What do you expect out of a terrorist illegal alien cokehead homosexual!!!!

  • jerry

    Why should anyone be surprised that Obama has created this class warefare agenda? Mearly look at his history as a child, student, and community activist. In each instance, his entire life has been suported by the State. From welfare as a child, to affermative action as a student and finally a black socialist who wishes to reduce America to a nation wholely dependent on government largess. One would have to really look very hard to find those miniscule percentage of successful blacks who are not socialists. Democrats have exploited blacks for the last 75 years. It's interesting that our black citizens forget about Dixicrats who did everything to stop the lawful intergration of southern schools. Men like Sen. Robert Byrd, lauded by democrats as a leader, was the KKK's grand master, The democratic governor of Alabama declared that his schools would never admit a n—er. The democratic governors of two other southern states vowed never to give into demands to intergrate their schools. President Lyndon Johnson, a democrat, was an avowed racists all his years in congress. Robert Kennedy, as Attorney General, and a democrat, bugged the Rev. MLK's phones to determine if the Rev. was an anarchist and rabble rouser.

  • Fed up

    Obama is bad, for sure, but Americans have become so utterly stupid that they'll likely elect the creep all over again.
    As for the campaign, Obama will be on the attack, as he is now, and Romney will do nothing better than to bleat like a little lamb in response. There isn't anybody else. The best candidates, the ones who'd wipe the floor with Obama, are anathema to the idiot Repubs and moronic Americans alike. Almost everybody I know will vote for Obama, friends, the rabbi and 95% of the members in my congregation, my neighborhood, my town, the whole stupid lot of them. It's crazy, like a bad dream.

    • jerry

      The Govenors were, George Wallace, Lester Maddox

  • johnnywoods

    Obummer is the dumbest person ever to sit in the Oval Office (except when he is campaigning or golfing),and his ignorant statements show that he has no idea of how this nation works, busyness-wise or in medicine, or anything else that made us a great nation. Even worse is that there are so many "doofuses" who will vote to keep him there. How very sad.

  • Amused

    Personally , I'm definitely gonna vote for the village idiot , that you guys put up – Romney . In fact I'll vote for ANY REPOCON/TEABAGGER the right has to offer . Why ? Because for all your vitriol, animus, and rancor over the past 3 1/2 years , ya'll STILL don't have a plan , STILL no solution , and I wanna see what you fools do with your 4 years . Dont forget , you had 8 yrs of GW , and he trashed the country with Debt , two wars and an economic recession .We were no better off before or after Bush . So lets see what you got . And yes , I'll be here to rub your noses in it . So count on me CHUMPS ….Ra ! Ra! GO ROMNEY !!!

    • http://shops.cafepress.com/greatbigshopofhorrors MSMediacritic

      Errr ummm… ok… where's the democrat plan? obama's budget was voted down unanimously (including by democrats). The Senate hasn't passed a budget since obama's been in office.

      Where's the leftard plan? Is it a secret? You can tell us….

  • Onar Kahlid

    There is one sure fire way to please blacks and stop the crime against whites that no one reports. Give every black 1 million dollars, in cash only. I guarantee that within 1 month (really 2 weeks), all problems associated with racist, nasty people of all colors will be finished. These animals (the haters) will destroy themselves. If drugs overdoses do not kill em them murder from robbing each other will. Enough said. We write about a terrible period in history and then get on with the American Dream again. Lessons learned, borders closed.

  • BS77

    Yes, it's class warfare…..the struggle between those who have class (restraint, thoughtfulness, discretion, sophistication etc) and those who do not..

  • Danny Liu
  • Justin Case

    It is a class war. NO doubt about it. But it's been going on for quite sometime. Now it's out in the open. Most of the population has been sleeping. If this country votes in Mitt it will economically destroy the majority of the people in the US. Talking out of two sides of their mouths, the GOP has said we are for the rich and the elite (oneside of the mouth). The other side has said the American public is dumb enough to vote us in if we muddy
    up the water a little. For what faces Americans Mr. Obama is the lesser of two evils.