Monday, October 13, 2008

Finding the real Obama

Great op-eds over the weekend by Patrick McIlheran and this morning in the Wall Street Journal on Obama's tax plan. Obama's tax cut consists of mostly refundable tax credits. These will reduce some folk's taxes (particularly if they are paying college tuition or have a mortgage) but much of it will go to people who do not pay taxes. As Pat points out, this will increase the currenty dynamic in which large parts of the population pay no federal income tax. Although the way to resolve this may be to increase income in the bottom percentiles, doing so through what amount to welfare payments creates an unhealthy political dynamic. As the Wall Street Journal notes, Obama's redefinition of checks from the government as tax cuts allows him to avoid acknowledging the way in which his plan increases the size of the government and contributes to disincentives to work as they are phased out. Under the Obama plan, couples making as little as $ 120,000 could face marginal tax rates as high as 45%.

Over at National Review Online, Joseph Antos has a good piece on Obama's health care plan and its potential, over time, to shift everyone into a government plan.

The theme here is that Obama's policies are cloaked moves to the hard left. If, however, this was the change we need, why not be more forthcoming about it.

This is why I think Ayers and Wright are, if handled properly, fair game. It's not that Obama shares all their views. It's that he is far enough to the left to see their views as within the pale of responsible discourse.


Anonymous said...

What? Nothing about Palin's abuse of power? How her ethics stink? How she cannot be trusted? And, if McCain wins, she'd be one freakin' heartbeat away from the presidency!

But alas, let's continue to talk about Wright and Ayers because those two people are so timely!

Keep your head in the sand, Shark!

Anonymous said...

Alright anon, here is one for ya. In 2000, McCain almost decided to go Democrat. If he had, and he came out for President early enough before the primaries there is a reasonably good chance that Obama waits 4 years...

Meanwhile Colin Powell almost decided to run for office...

So, different things fall in to place and you are singing the praises of the Maverick for, You guessed it! "change and hope!" Meanwhile, since there is no real political correctness if the target is Republican, 'Calling the kettle black' and 'Calling a spade a Spade' are common phrases throughout the election. Suddenly racism is no big thing and Democrats scramble to make the black vote 'about the issues' instead of being a 'sellout' or 'Uncle Tom', by not voting for the black guy.

Keep your head of the Donkey's ass, anon. McCain is a liberal twit, and Obama straight out favors a 'Democratic Socialism' where people are elected to make everyone equal throughout their entire lives not just 'created equal'.

Partisans are such nits. Really, the worst part about that scenario is that you probably cannot even conceive of it.

Anonymous said...

In entirity of Palin's history and associations...all the left can find is the possible firing over ONE state employee who wrongly protected a deputy who threatened to kill a Palin family member.

Please show me the Palin ties to a known and admitted terrorist, please show me her ties to a racist church minister, and then please show me her ties to a convicted slum lord who helped her buy her home while contributing thousands to his campaign. Also, please show me the direct connections to a community group that has illegally registered tens of thousands of false voters disenfranchising the most basic right of our country.

But you go ahead and embrace that ONE government bureaucrat who was fired by Palin.

Heck, I'll even give you that his firing was a DIRECT result over the deputy in question.

Anonymous said...

Obama's past associations are more interesting than McCain's and Palin's ONLY because Obama is almost certainly going to be our 44th President. In a month, McCain will just be another Senator and Palin an undistinguished Governor.

After all this time, if Obama's past has not turned up anything truly damning, maybe there's nothing really bad there. But he's no saint (who is?) so let his opponents keep digging; every time they make a mountain out of a mole-hill (ie: Ayers and Wright) they make Obama seem the victim of a witch-hunt. So do carry on. Really. Please do. Obama continues on with dignity while hysterical charges are tossed around; looking more and more Presidential every day.

So do carry on raking the muck. You're running out of time to find anything useful.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

What is most amazing is that some people are not seeing the real Obama. The other day some little old ladies where saying that when Obama is President everything will be alright. They did not know how but they through blind faith really believed that. Furthermore, they thought it was just awful when Clinton was President that his affair with an intern in the White House was publicized, not that he had it.

Some people cannot even discern what a marriage is any longer and we expect them to see the real Obama. Maybe we should have some sort of judgment test for voting.

Anonymous said...

Rick closed with this: "It's not that Obama shares all [Ayers and Wright's] views. It's that he is far enough to the left to see their views as within the pale of responsible discourse."

In a nation that protects freedom of speech and values discourse over violence, all views are within the "pale of responsible discourse."

One can, in the course of expressing a legitimate view make an irresponsible comment; but all VIEWS are open to discourse; even the nastiest. The power of Free Speech is that it allows even the worst ideas to be expressed, on the theory that shining a light on a good idea is beneficial, and on a bad idea antiseptic.

Ayers and Wright may be purveyors of bad ideas; banning them does not discredit their bad ideas, encouraging responsible discourse about them is the best way to disarm them.

If Obama's relation to these guys shines a light on their ideas, that is a good thing no matter how noxious their ideas are.

sean s.

Anonymous said...

Rick, your column, like the Wall Street Journal editorial that triggered it and the underlying Brill and Viard study for the American Enterprise Institute on which the graph in the WSJ was based, is seriously misleading.

Obama's tax plan will not increase taxes for anyone making less than $250,000. Let me repeat that: Obama's tax plan will not increase taxes for anyone making less than $250,000. Obama's plan, as you full well know, will lower taxes for the vast majority of middle class and working class people. It does that by increasing credits -- for example, the Hope scholarship credit for parents of college students. This would be increased to $4000 under Obama's plan. It is still phased out as income levels rise. The impact of the phase-out is what creates the "marginal tax rates as high as 45%."

Other economists have criticized Brill and Viard for cherry-picking their fact pattern to come up with a worst possible case. (See www.econ4obama.blogspot for a good discussion.) But let's get specific and assume that some combination of phased-out credits actually would result in the feared 45% marginal rate on some given fact pattern. Let's assume that under current law, our hypothetical family, the Joneses, would pay $9000 in federal income taxes if their income was $119,000, and $9,280 if their income was $120,000. Let's assume further that under Obama's plan, with all of the credits available to them, the Joneses would pay $8,550 in federal taxes on $119,000 in income, and $9,000 in federal income taxes if their income was $120,000. The jump from $119,000 to $120,000 does reflect a 45% marginal tax rate, as a result (for example) of the phase-out of the $4000 Hope credit. But the Joneses are better off in either income scenario under the Obama plan.

If the Joneses end up making $119,000 and paying $8,550 under President Obama, I don't think they will think that they are the beneficiaries of "welfare payments" (to the extent, for example, that they get some small benefit from the Hope scholarship credit prior to its complete phase-out). They will probably think they are sending the government quite enough money, thank you. And there's nothing in increasing the size of the Hope credit that of itself "increases the size of government."

Increasing the size of a tax credit to help struggling families with such desirable things as education is hardly "hard left." Nor is it a "hard left" concept to adjust tax policies so that a somewhat greater percentage of the population doesn't pay income tax: when the income tax was first introduced, and for many years thereafter, it fell only on persons at the very top end of the income scale.

You seem to think that any time government provides a benefit, this is "welfare" that "creates an unhealthy political dynamic." That logic is an argument for the repeal of our laws providing for free public education. There are public benefits to having a populace that is educated -- and healthy.

Dad29 said...

Obama's tax plan will not increase taxes for anyone making less than $250,000

Umnnnhhh...did Obama commit to retaining the Bush tax-cuts?

Because if he did NOT do so, I assure you taxes will rise for people making less than $250K.

jp said...

I think Obama may talk differently when (if) he puts on the President’s shoes. I hope.

With the Congress and Presidency in their pocket, the three stooges (Polsie, Reid and Frank) will have freedom to enact far left programs. Then, the problem maybe finding foreigners willing to invest in America.

Anonymous said...

Dad29: Yes, Obama preserves the Bush income tax cuts for households making less than $250,000.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if Palin fired one or 100 employees. The fact of the matter is that SHE ABUSED HER POWER AS GOVERNOR. However, if you neocons think Dubya and Cheney did nothing wrong (i.e. abusing power), then your "logic" is that Palin has done nothing wrong.

Now I have another question since so many GOPers and neocons are all bothered by an association that Obama and Ayers had while serving on a board together. What about McCain's pick of William Timmons (a DC lobbyist--heck, didn't McCain say he administration would not be in cahoots with lobbyists) to run his transition team (ha ha ha, McCain would have to win first). The same Timmons who added an influence effort on Saddam Hussein's behalf to ease international sanctions against his regime! Hmmmm. . .and, since Palin and McCain has claimed a "connection" between 9/11 and Iraq--what say you????? Does McCain/Palin work with terrorists--bad enough with lobbyists in their back pockets?????