Is the White House Punishing Ambition?


President Barack Hussein Obama has called for a tax increase on “millionaires and billionaires” as part of his drive for fairness.  He also accuses the Republicans of trying to protect those very same millionaires and billionaires, implying that those taxpayers who are not millionaires and billionaires will suffer untold (and always undefined) hardships because of this bias on the part of Republicans.

In fact he is, as usual, sort of correct.  He simply missed a single word that must have just slipped by on his teleprompter.  The word is “aspiring”.  Or, if you prefer the more vernacular term, “wannabees”.

Republicans should point out this grammatical lapse.  They are trying to protect not existing millionaires and billionaires, but those who aspire to that status.  Republicans are trying to protect wannabee millionaires and billionaires.

They want to protect the next Bill Gates and Steve Jobs from punitive confiscatory taxes. They want to protect the next Angie Hicks of Angie’s List (who’s at war with women again, Barry?).

Just for those who have a statistical fetish, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have between Microsoft and Apple about 135,000 employees.  If Obama’s tax “fairness” policies were implemented, how many of those 135,000 would be making the unemployment figures materially worse than they are already, because the next millionaire or billionaire wouldn’t have been successful enough to hire them in the first place?

Perhaps the President’s animus toward millionaires and billionaires is more an expression of jealousy over what they have accomplished rather than how much they have earned.  After all, between them, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs actually did something that Barack Obama only dreams of doing.  They actually did “fundamentally transform America.”  And the rest of the world, too, for that matter.

Further, Obama’s use of the term “fair” begs the question that he never seems to be able to answer – Unfair to whom, Mr. President?  If these evil and rapacious millionaires and billionaires are not paying the amount of tax that they are required to pay by law, then they are criminals and Eric Holder should personally head up a swat team to arrest these financial terrorists.  Breaking the law is definitely unfair.  (I’ll grant you that one, Barry.)

On the other hand if these very same people followed the law as written, obeyed all the rules of the game (rules, by the way, that were passed by large margins in a democratically elected Congress which is apparently the litmus test that Obama is using to determine if a given law has legitimacy) then, again, where is the unfairness, and who suffers from the acts of people who are acting lawfully?  Isn’t such a claim like issuing a traffic ticket to someone who always stops at a red light?  After all, those who blast through red lights pay more than their fair share in traffic fines, don’t they?

Republicans have to call out the President on these distortions of reality that roll trippingly off his teleprompter.  They can protect the President’s dignity by saying they are merely examples of how the President “misspoke”, or they can be more honest and call his accusations what they really are – classic class warfare lies.

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About Jim Yardley

Retired after 30 years as a financial controller for a variety of manufacturing firms, a two-tour Vietnam veteran, and independent voter.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Economy, Jobs, Political Doubletalk, Taxes and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Is the White House Punishing Ambition?

  1. Sawyer says:

    I think Obama strikes a pretty moderate tone discussing tax fairness. While I could find a place in for the word “rapacious”, he hasn’t. By most world standards he seems to be considered a moderate.

    Perhaps the rich are not as valuable to society as some seem to think they are. Without Microsoft, we’d have Linux (and monopoly-free innovation). No iPhone? Something else would fill the demand. (and though their achievements are notable, I wouldn’t put them in the same class as some of his Presidential ones). And what a capitalist love affair it is, for those who idolize the mere possession of money – as if a popular billionaire works as hard as all the low-wage-earning waitresses.

    The “hardships” Obama speaks of would be the real struggles of the millions of Americans who now live paycheck to paycheck, one financial or health disaster away from ruin. Neighborhoods that look like Berlin after the war and offer just as much opportunity.
    Mainstream media doesn’t find this newsworthy because it deviates from “middle class”, “American Idol”, and the usual feed for those who have no attention span or civic interest.

    The erosion of upward mobility, and the massive sucking of wealth to the very top, speak for themselves. Our economy has seen a radical shift in its rewards from workers (with our record productivity) to Wall Street (with its record profits). It’s said that if minimum wage kept pace with executive pay and bonuses, it would be $23/hr.

    The CBO’s own data shows that actual corporate tax revenues are are well below the 31% tax rate and have been falling for years, thanks to the offshore tax havens and accounting tricks (loopholes) that Obama wants to eliminate – legally – yet his opponents (Canter, Boehner, etc etc) are determined to keep.

    And how progressive is our tax system anyway? A detailed analysis shows that lower- and middle- income families shoulder as much, or more of the tax burden.
    http://www.itepnet.org/whopays3.pdf

    I agree, lawbreakers should be hunted down – the damage caused by white-collar crime far outweighs that of the blue-collar variety. But I wouldn’t expect much from Holder. His Justice Dept. has taken financial fraud prosecutions to a 20 year low. Some find this unsurprising since JPM and other Wall Street banks are at the center of the client list of his pre-Justice Dept law firm.
    And he’s already settled with the largest banks for a slap on the wrist, and $1.27 to each American whose life was ruined by illegal foreclosure. And as yet, not a single arrest for what could be the biggest debacle in history. But to be fair, one party continues their legacy of sabotage and obstruction on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission…

    People should be put ahead of profits, doing real work like the coal workers you appreciated.

    just my 2 cent rant…

    • Jim Yardley says:

      Since this is my blog, I feel I have to right to answer your comment on a point by point basis, so here goes:

      “I think Obama strikes a pretty moderate tone discussing tax fairness. … By most world standards he seems to be considered a moderate.”

      OK, I’ll agree that he is moderate but only when compared to the more extreme socialist nations of Europe.

      “Perhaps the rich are not as valuable to society as some seem to think they are. Without Microsoft, we’d have Linux (and monopoly-free innovation). No iPhone? Something else would fill the demand. (And though their achievements are notable, I wouldn’t put them in the same class as some of his Presidential ones). And what a capitalist love affair it is, for those who idolize the mere possession of money – as if a popular billionaire works as hard as all the low-wage-earning waitresses.”

      I just love the insinuation that Bill Gates and Steve Jobs started off wealthy, and based solely on that wealth started Microsoft and Apple. They didn’t of course. I mean, Apple started in the family garage. I would bet real money that you are aware of that, but simply choose to ignore it.

      And yes, Linux is free. There is one tiny problem with Linux, though. There are few, if any, commonly used applications readily available for use on a Linux platform. And with application programmers concentrating on Microsoft platforms, Linux never caught on with the general public and users in the business world. Yet if programmers had chosen to utilize Linux, well, simply put, there would only be different millionaires and billionaires. The demand for such products is there to be satisfied, and someone was going to get rich. It just might not be Bill Gates. And the same logic applies to Steve Jobs. Yes, you could replace the iPhone or iPad with someone else’s version, but then that simply means that someone else would be a bazillionaire, right?

      “The “hardships” Obama speaks of would be the real struggles of the millions of Americans who now live paycheck to paycheck, one financial or health disaster away from ruin.”

      I completely agree that there are millions of Americans living paycheck to paycheck. That has been true almost every year in the last century. It’s not a new condition, no matter how the President wants to describe it. Stipulating that such conditions exists, what exactly has the President and the Liberal/Progressive/Democrats done about it? We gave them nearly a trillion dollars to “stimulate” the economy. How stimulated was it? Personally I don’t see much stimulation except for major donors and bundlers to the Obama campaign in 2008 and perhaps those who are donating to and/or bundling donations for his reelection effort. And the vast majority of them are the same millionaires and billionaires that you say aren’t worth the value of a waitress.

      Make up your mind, will you?

      “Neighborhoods that look like Berlin after the war and offer just as much opportunity.”

      Where are these rubble strewn neighborhoods located, my friend? Could they be in places like say, Detroit? Or maybe areas of Los Angeles? Or many other urban centers that I could name that are controlled by Democrat Party hack politicians like Rahm Emmanuel. What non-federal efforts are being made by the citizens of these areas to alleviate their misery, or are they all sitting and waiting for Uncle Sam to ride to the rescue with bags and bags of someone else’s money?

      “Mainstream media doesn’t find this newsworthy because it deviates from “middle class”, “American Idol”, and the usual feed for those who have no attention span or civic interest.”

      You pick an odd example to illustrate your point, you know. American Idol? American Idol stands on the support provided by young people in this country. People that enjoy reruns of Lawrence Welk don’t normally change channels to catch the latest Idol episode. And yet Obama and his campaign enablers are obsessed with the youth vote that you seem to indicate “who have no attention span or civic interest.”

      Once again, make up your mind.

      “The erosion of upward mobility, and the massive sucking of wealth to the very top, speak for themselves. Our economy has seen a radical shift in its rewards from workers (with our record productivity) to Wall Street (with its record profits). It’s said that if minimum wage kept pace with executive pay and bonuses, it would be $23/hr.”

      You equate productivity gains per worker with harder or more efficient work per worker, while ignoring any capital investment that enables these workers to produce more with less effort. Obviously there is a flaw in your logic there. Or, you are revealing yourself to be a closet Luddite.

      As for record profits on Wall Street, those profits wouldn’t exist if people didn’t want to participate in the nation’s economic activity as investors. Now, before you start whining about those “millionaire and billionaire investors”, keep in mind that institutional investors, pension funds and the like, are the biggest players on the block and most of their gains benefit the very workers you imply are suffering at the hands of these Wall Street miscreants. So which is it? Are they the suffering poor, or are they indirectly the very capitalists who are taking advantage of the workers. You only get to pick one, and “all of the above” is not available as an answer.

      “The CBO’s own data shows that actual corporate tax revenues are well below the 31% tax rate and have been falling for years, thanks to the offshore tax havens and accounting tricks (loopholes) that Obama wants to eliminate – legally – yet his opponents (Canter, Boehner, etc etc) are determined to keep.”

      Those tax havens and accounting tricks, as you call them, are legal are they not? I’m not saying that either one of us agrees with many of them, but they are the law. So long as they are the law, both parties had to cooperate or none of them would be in place (I mean really, are you inferring that they were all created since 2010, and Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer were in comas when they arrived in the Senate for a vote?) Obama had two full years to get this “reform” of the tax code done with majorities in both House and Senate but didn’t. Did he just notice that these things were problems? Is he learning impaired? Did his Treasury Secretary try to analyze the situation with TurboTax or something?

      “And how progressive is our tax system anyway? A detailed analysis shows that lower- and middle- income families shoulder as much, or more of the tax burden. [See] http://www.itepnet.org/whopays3.pdf

      All I can say to this comment is get back to me with data from a source that I trust a little bit more than a “non-partisan” think tank that has a member of the SEIU on its Board of Directors. I mean, seriously.

      “I agree, lawbreakers should be hunted down – the damage caused by white-collar crime far outweighs that of the blue-collar variety. But I wouldn’t expect much from Holder. His Justice Dept. has taken financial fraud prosecutions to a 20 year low. Some find this unsurprising since JPM and other Wall Street banks are at the center of the client list of his pre-Justice Dept law firm.”

      So Obama’s Attorney General and the DoJ in general, are failures at protecting the little guy against these rapacious Wall Street mobsters. These are, I’m sure you’re aware, the same mobsters that are shoveling money at the Obama reelection committee and Obama PACs at a stunning rate, and yet you wonder about Eric Holder’s “failure” to prosecute? Really? It’s a mystery to you, is it?

      “And he’s already settled with the largest banks for a slap on the wrist, and $1.27 to each American whose life was ruined by illegal foreclosure. And as yet, not a single arrest for what could be the biggest debacle in history. But to be fair, one party continues their legacy of sabotage and obstruction on the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission…”

      I’m so glad that you’re being fair. Of course with Barney Frank in charge of the House Banking Committee and co-author of another Obamacare sized Financial Regulation Bill, one can see that the Republicans could only be interested in the sordid business of protecting these financial parasites. They couldn’t possibly be reacting to massive, and probably unconstitutional, governmental overreach, now could they?

      “People should be put ahead of profits, doing real work like the coal workers you appreciated.”

      Was this plagiarized from a speech by Lenin by any chance?

      just my 2 cent rant…

      Well this has been my nickel rebuttal. And I’d say both of us have valued them accurately.

      • Sawyer says:

        my fault some misunderstandings…

        Okay, dramatic rise in income inequality, and the recession and state cutbacks/layoffs exacerbate the problems. The ethics are offtopic I guess, though there’s good evidence it’s negatively affecting growth.

        I have nothing against American Idol … I am one of those young folks who voted for Obama and on the whole, I don’t think we were apathetic or narrow-minded about the issues.

        “capitalist love affair”: should have been a new paragraph there. It wasn’t referring to Gates and Jobs; they have made notable achievements. Linux is an interesting case because as Open Source, it promotes rather than stifles competition, innovation and standards.

        I was rambling about the idolization of those who get ridiculous bonuses and salaries to throw around money saying “you’re fired!”. By “coal workers” – I just meant one of your comments in another article about work appreciation.
        Leading to the study on taxation- I try to judge by methodology and sources, of course anyone’s free to dismiss.

        We agree, productivity gains from investment. But again, it seems those are going toward the 1%, not the workers, who get laid off or rehired at slashed wages, medical plans, those pension things we hear parents talk about… Maybe we could learn from Germany’s mixed labor system, they’re employed and booming.

        I think urban decay is due to many factors. Urban voters trend liberal on a wide range of issues. But yeah, if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, are one of those in need of basic health care or social services, yada yada… reps in line with Paul Ryan, McConnell, and Boehner make the choice a no-brainer.
        I’d watch either party when they’re entrenched without oversight.

        Tax reforms, you make good points. I’m not giving a pass to either party – for throwing away chances, being tools for plutocrats, obstructing, what have you.
        Amazing enough that we can elect someone with the integrity of Bernie Sanders to represent, whether or not it falls on deaf ears.

        I try to be fair and when I do something stupid, my gf will agree, I admit it. Maybe I’m not as big into US politics! Finding other interesting stuff on your blog too. Learning they’re not forums 😉
        Cheers

  2. Jim Yardley says:

    Funny, I’ve tried every way I can think of to make them forums. Open minded discussion is critical, but you have to be careful in viewing any methodology the government employs. There is a significant difference between tactics employed and the overall mission to be achieved. What we see most often coming out of Washington is tactics, but the overall mission that is prompting those tactics is often hidden. The hidden mission is the thing I fear most.

  3. Sawyer says:

    It occurs to me there are plenty of thoughtful intelligent forums/blogs more tasteful to me and sans the rhetoric, so sorry to waste our time – clear my commentary and lets move on. 😉

  4. Sawyer says:

    EJ Dionne already makes a brilliant case on any number of these issues.

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