Obama’s Bankrupt Vision


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Coming during an election year, President Obama’s State of the Union address was supposed to be a kinetic affair, the opening salvo in Obama’s battle to retain the White House. While making the case for his reelection, the president was expected to offer a bold political vision for leading the country. But the remarks he offered last night were surprisingly tame, an aimless blend of populist gimmicks, class warfare, and outright contradictions that made the soaring oratory of Obama’s 2008 election seem like a distant memory.

Rather than the politics of renewal, Obama dealt in the politics of envy. At the heart of his speech was the theme of economic unfairness. As the president told it, the rich are not paying their fair share. The result is a “country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by.” The claim came courtesy of billionaire investor Warren Buffet, who has repeatedly bemoaned the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than his personal secretary. But what might have been simply a tendentious talking point has apparently become the heart of Obama’s reelection campaign, as the president paid symbolic debt to Buffet by seating his secretary, Debbie Bosanek, in the gallery with First Lady Michelle Obama. That set the stage for Obama to voice his support for the so-called “Buffet rule,” which would require Americans making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax of 30 percent.

The idea that secretaries are paying more in taxes than their billionaire bosses is certainly sensational. It’s also, for the most part, false. Under America’s progressive tax structure, the overwhelming majority of high-income earners pay the top rate of 35 percent. True, there are some minor exceptions, such as the case of Buffet. Not unlike Mitt Romney, most of Buffet’s income comes from investments like capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at 15 percent. That might seem to be a lower rate that Buffet’s secretary pays. In reality, however, most investment income is taxed twice. For most high-earners, the 15 percent capital gains tax on investments comes in addition to a corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Altogether, the effective tax rate for investment income in America is a sizeable 44.75 percent. Given that low-income earners pay little to nothing in taxes, it should come as no surprise that, according to the Tax Policy Center, a full 60 percent of Americans pay a lower effective rate than Buffett does. That includes most secretaries.

Obama did his best to distort that reality.  He insisted, for instance, that he was simply asking a “billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes,” which he called “common sense.” A better description might be “extremely misleading.” Quite apart from the fact that tax rates for the rich are not as low as the president suggests, it’s ludicrous to claim that billionaires are not paying as much in total taxes as their secretaries. Not even Warren Buffet has suggested anything of the sort. It is surely a sign of the shallowness of the president’s domestic policy agenda that he sees stoking class resentment as his best appeal to American voters.

And not just class resentment. When not assailing the rich, Obama lashed out at America’s global competitors, most notably China. His affirmations of American greatness were interspersed with crude protectionism that left one to wonder whether he truly believed in America’s ability to succeed in the free market. Thus he announced the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit to monitor Chinese goods entering the United States, applauded his administration for slapping a tariff on Chinese tires, and condemned companies for outsourcing jobs. To be sure, that rant did not prevent Obama from calling for the emergence of “the next Steve Jobs.” That would be the same Steve Jobs whose Apple has long outsourced jobs to China.

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  • UCSPanther

    Obama has gone from "Yes, We Can!" to "No, He can't" in a fiery display of fail.

  • Ken

    Hopefully, after the election, it will be, "No, he didn't!"

  • oldtimer

    Will Obama and his cronies be included in the tax the rich more, or will they be exempt? Just like Obamacare exempts his supporters and Congress, etc., have their own special retirement and health care, much better than SS and Medicare, but paid for by the tax payers.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    If America is to recover it is not with that man in the Office of President,
    he must go and every leech in the criminal enterprise he calls and administration.
    The question for the Republican politicians will be "after looting the treasury, where
    did the money go and what authority did Obama have to spend it". He has created
    something no other person in history has, more work for a special team of
    prosecutors than they could do in a lifetime………………………………William

  • Steve Chavez

    SORRY I MISSED his speech but I had something more important and especially more exciting to do: CLEAN MY TOILET!

    I CAN'T STAND SEEING OR HEARING THE CON-ARTIST-IN-CHIEF!!!

    • Blaze Pascal

      I don't think you missed any drivel we haven't heard before.

    • johnnywoods

      Hey Steve, You did not miss anything since Obummer is a congenital liar. Nothing he ever says means anything and his promises all come with an expiration date.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        I am surprised Steve didn't hear the speach coming up out of the toilet.
        William

        • johnnywoods

          So you would think.

  • davarino

    obama has such inconsistant policies that should make most Americans heads explode.

    • ryan

      who are you comparing this to?!?! Mitt Romney???? he changes his mind more than the weather

  • Dispozadaburka

    After Obamacare gets passed and he gets re-elected,
    he will announce that Muslims will be exempt from paying into the healthcare.
    Thus creating a "Dhimmi Tax."

    He speaks with "forked tongue."

    • Guest

      I would not be surprised–this is the "Prez" (I cringe at calling him one) who last year forbid his ENTIRE STAFF from using the words "Muslim Terrorist" or referring to "Islamic Terror." What, in God's name, is this agenda to limit free speech if not to SANITIZE Islam, as if it were on a par with Buddhism in terms of compassion for life. What a joke that would be, with some 18,344 people having died at the hands of ISLAMIC TERROR attacks. Obama has been a TOTAL DISASTER for the nation and if he had any real concern about America, this failed person would NEVER, EVER attempt to BEG for yet another term of human misery for America. The way out is through the door, Barack. HOW much more damage do you need to do???????????

  • StephenD

    When The Speaker said "I have the distinct honor and privilege to introduce…." I threw up a little in my throat.

    • Stephen_Brady

      I suspect he had a bucket next to his chair for the inevitable result.

    • Guest

      I threw up a lot…WHO IS OBAMA, this cardboard candidate who tries so hard to "look" presidential?

  • pierce

    When the Speaker said "I have the distinct honor and privilege….." was he being genuine? Every time I see or hear Obama I want to regurgitate because he comes across as being insincere. And the class warfare he promotes is uncalled for. Reminding us of his false principals makes him a profound cynic. I think he, Obama, is not fit to do the job he was elected to do. It will be a distinct privilege to elect some one new come November.

  • Steve Chavez

    Below from my "25 Reasons: Time TO a Change!" (From Democrat to Indy to Republican and a play on Obama's "Time for a Change. When these are given during a speech, the audience screams "Time TO a Change" together. There must be ways to convince Americans that Obama and Dems are extremists and who must be defeated. Here is a way!)

    1. If you think your Party has been taken over by Far-Left Progressives, and beyond, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    2. If your moderate views are not being heard by those who have closed their ears, but they're still wanting you to open your wallets, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    3. If you were fooled and tricked by empty promises, fancy language, and catchy slogans repeated so many times that you actually believed them, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    4. If all the “Change” you have left in your pockets are Abe Lincolns, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    5. If your vote is taken for granted because of your race and/or gender, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    14. If you feel your race is continuously, and purposefully, kept in a perpetual cycle of poverty and government dependability, as they are addicting you to themselves therefore requiring you to vote for them in order to get your fix, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    20. If you’re tired of the P.C. Police handcuffing your rights, your way of life, your thoughts and words, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    21. If you’re tired of being ridiculed for trying to be, or being, successful, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    22. If you’re tired of feeling guilty for the car you drive, the toys you own, the home you live in, the food you eat, and the amount of money you make, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

    24. If you’re tired of “Do as I say, not as I do,“ hypocrites controlling your life, then it’s TIME TO A CHANGE!

  • mrbean

    Yassah he dun beez dah black messiah dat gonna bring us all more hopey and changey. Yassah. Yanoewatahmsayin' (smacking lips rapidly metttt-mettt-metttt-mettt!) Youse knows dah cracka Gingritch dun stole dah christmas.

    • Dennis X

      fo mo, beanbutt

      • mrbean

        Cake wawk fah meh Dennis. Yanoewatahmsayin' (smacking lips rapidly metttt-mettt-metttt-mettt!) Youse beez Buckwheat's brutha?

    • Ghostwriter

      I wish you'd stop this. This is 2012,not 1912.

      • mrbean

        1912? That was when the income tax was only 5% maximum, there was no federal deposit at all and there was no welfare and all the black fathers stayed with and supported their families. in 2012, if you live in New York City, you pay 35% federal income tax, 10% state income tax, 7% social security tax, 8% sales tax, 2% renter's tax if you rent and the highest real estate taxes in the nation. And 2 out 5 people are on welfare and food stamps or the city government dole, almost no black fathers stay with their families and support their children. Un dis beez dah way dah black mans talks in new tawk citay in 2012 Yanoewatahmsayin' (smacking lips rapidly metttt-mettt-metttt-mettt!)

  • BLJ

    Did not waste my time listening to the same old tired drivel. Obama still thinks it is 1965. He is like the Great Oz and the curtain has been pulled back.

    It is an ugly sight and extremely dangerous for the future of America. The Emperor has no clothes.

    • Guest

      And the main problem with Our Dear Leader, Barack, is that he actually BELIEVES he was elected to be Emperor. This is the LEAST democratic candidate to ever, ever inhabit the White House. Please Lord, get him a job somewhere where he cannot do so much damage….like a motivational speaker in some obscure town…..

  • BS77

    Support VOTER ID laws. YOu must have an ID to rent a car, board a jet, get a library card ….even to rent a rug shampoo machine. How on earth are valid voter ID laws, "discriminatory"????

    • jacob

      BS77 :
      I would go one step further and force CONGRESS to make it LAW a mandatory
      IDENTITY CARD like everywhere else and not the stupid "scratching your left
      ear with your right hand" system we have, having to pay ANYWAY $16 for a
      drivers license format stipulating it is good for identity purposes only.

      Whether people will have to be fingerprinted ??
      So what ??
      Isn't everybody fully fingerprinted in the military ???
      Of course, whoever with a "record" would not be pleased with it but, aren't
      convicted felons unable to vote ??
      Rest assured this would be the end of voter fraud but it would be opposed
      by the ineffable Secretary of Justice, who by his actions, seems to be cooperating
      with voters fraud instead….

  • ASG

    I watched the SOTU last night, but I had a hard time understanding the President because of the big sucking noise coming from my wallet. Seriously, all I heard was he needs and wants more of my money.

  • Randy

    You could just as easily use Buffets false argument (false because both he and his secretary both pay the same 15% on capital gains) to promote the idea that income tax on wages and salaries should be set at 15%

    • Blaze Pascal

      OBAMA AND BUFFET CALL FOR 15% FLAT TAX!!

  • wsk

    Watched a John Wayne movie instead of the man-child messiah's pile of excrement show. Can you think anyone more opposite to Obama than the Duke i.e a real American?

  • Blaze Pascal

    The one percent are not to blame!

    • Fred Dawes

      BUT THE 99 PERCENT ARE? people ask for it and will get it all soon. Buy Gun be free of the government BS.

  • kim

    I think when America learns the farse is in our WH is because they did not search all about the person , what and where there birth certificate is and came from and learn the difference between a legal one and a phoney. most just followed the herd. I was one ;who tried to warn even before he took over our WH. Gee, when the IMAM in Kenya said His UNCLE while alive baptised obama, his gramma said she was at the service and wondered what the little rascal was doing. he promised all of kenya he would help them with our money. they are unhappy and still waiting. even the oficials said he was born there. and now that he said he was born in that one hospital in Hawaii , well gee, it was not built then. Now we have another year of lies from both sides..Romney is a shadow of obama. Gingrich is a insider and phoney and wants every ilegal from all the countries to come here and feed off the American teat..Both sides have been working together to take us down and hand us over to the EU for a one world control Hitler gov. kinda like a Romney ..they have on president that makes the US rich so they can rip it off and where does the money go?? in their pockets. just Michele spens a million on hersef amonth.. wake up and get busy.thanks

  • BLJ

    Why does Obama's "vision" make me feel like Alex DeLarge getting the Ludovico Technigue in "A Clockwork Orange"?

    • Fred Dawes

      YOU WILL SOON

  • Fred Dawes

    The former USA Was not into BK But it is now and the reason why is the world bankers now own our little butt, with a debit of 180 trillion and a income of 15 trillion all of you will get this fact of one world soon. So live in your totally amusing BS.
    we our all living in a fascism political system do your Research

  • Anamah

    The spoiled brat and capricious will not end ever with their tantrums, everything and everyone are good to be blamed, otherwise you are going to see what Soros network can do. Stubborn Alinsky organizers are quite scary.

  • Jon Adams

    The State of the Union would have been worth listening to if he answered these questions.
    Why was Obama "disbarred?
    Why is he using a suspect social security #?
    Why was Ms. Obama "disbarred"?
    Why has his photoshopped birth certificate not become an issue in the campaign?
    Why is there no evidence that he attended Columbia?
    Why did the Saudis donate millions to Harvard on his behalf?

  • Fred Dawes

    keep on this evil road you will live in that movie called the Road, see the movie it maybe your future.

  • Ellman

    I don't know of any delicate way to say that Obama is a complete moron. Yet, the entire nation (almost) listens to his absurd speeches. The fact that we could elect a demagogue like this is astonishing. Listening to him is like listening to Fidel Castro or Chavez of Venezuela. Are many of us at the point of not being able to distinguish between an advocate of liberty and one of tyranny? There was a time when a statist like Obama would have never been a candidate for President, let alone actually become President. His race has nothing to do with anything. If he were pale as an Eskimo he would still be the most disastrous executive this country ever elected. His election in 2008 is still the most baffling event of my lifetime and the only reason to understand this aberration is to avoid repeating it. Otherwise, the nation founded by Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton will be laid to rest in a casket for all time.

  • richard

    you make the mistake of assuming he is inept. everything he has done was intentional.

  • murphy

    Buffet was the one that proposed the "buffet rule" !! His secretary was AT the SOTU as a guest! Romney makes 56 thousand a DAY!!! Revenue MUST be raised what other proposition is there? tax the middle class? f that

  • FRED DAWES

    Most of what you read inside this want to be third world so called nation state is total nuts city.