[FoRK] How Barack lost my vote forever

Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Wed Apr 23 01:23:03 PDT 2008

Jeff Bone wrote:
> In the most recent debate Senator Obama showed his true colors when he 
> stated that he wanted to raise the capital gains tax "for purposes of 
> fairness."
> The man is a socialist; I use the term not in a jingoistic or ad 
> hominem sense, but in a very real, very literal sense.
Well, after ALL of that, I don't buy it. You are over sensitized to this 
topic and completely came to a too-solid conclusion, too quickly.

This is the key segment I believe.
> MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from 
> the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 
> 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went 
> down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 
> million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
> SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at 
> raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an 
> article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made 
> $29 billion last year -- $29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of 
> what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market 
> and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate 
> than their secretaries. That's not fair.
> And what I want is not oppressive taxation. I want businesses to 
> thrive and I want people to be rewarded for their success. But what I 
> also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are 
> able to finance health care for Americans who currently don't have it 
> and that we're able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our 
> schools.
> And you can't do that for free, and you can't take out a credit card 
> from the Bank of China in the name of our children and our 
> grandchildren and then say that you're cutting taxes, which is 
> essentially what John McCain has been talking about. And that is 
> irresponsible.
> You know, I believe in the principle that you pay as you go, and you 
> don't propose tax cuts unless you are closing other tax breaks for 
> individuals. And you don't increase spending unless you're eliminating 
> some spending or you're finding some new revenue. That's how we got an 
> additional $4 trillion worth of debt under George Bush. That is 
> helping to undermine our economy, and it's going to change when I'm 
> president of the United States.
> MR. GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains 
> tax, the revenues go up.
> SENATOR OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not. It depends on 
> what's happening on Wall Street and how business is going. I think the 
> biggest problem that we've got on Wall Street right now is the fact 
> that we've got a housing crisis that this president has not been 
> attentive to and that it took John McCain three tries before he got it 
> right.
> And if we can stabilize that market and we can get credit flowing 
> again, then I think we'll see stocks do well, and once again I think 
> we can generate the revenue that we need to run this government and 
> hopefully to pay down some of this debt.
He's clearly referring to Warren Buffet's comments:
> Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary 
> Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (£26 
> billion), said: “The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income 
> in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that 
> matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it 
> to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”
Clever of Barack to base his statement on one from Clinton's fund raiser.

> He has made and now articulated a clear moral judgment about earnings 
> from capital investment --- never mind the attendant risk-transfer, 
> liquidity provision, and other services, yes, *services* that are 
> embodied by such investment. He has further demonstrated that he 
> believes that it is the government's prerogative, perhaps duty, to 
> enforce such moral judgments. And clearly, anyone who is earning or 
> has earned enough to invest (i.e., the over 100,000,000 Americans who 
> participate directly or indirectly in the stock market) does not 
> deserve the rewards of taking such risk, or at least the rewards they 
> presently enjoy.
That appears to be wrong. He has made no such judgment publicly that I 
can see. He has said, roughly, that those under $250K are exempt and 
that those at the top end need some fairness adjustments. You are 
interpreting fairness in a particular way, but it seems that it could be 
reasoned many ways in this circumstance. Clearly, the capital gains 
"pay" of $29 billion for 50 people is not from "stored work", it is 
clearly direct income for their work in that year. Of course it is 
unfair on its face, but if the system has a need for these individuals 
and there is some high barrier to competition, that's fine. Unless there 
is something non-free-market about the way it came to be. The fact that 
investment rates are being used for what is actually income is a main 
issue. If I made that same money selling copies of some retrograde 
operating system, I wouldn't get those rates, at least not without 
creative manipulation.
> And he has made it clear that he believes that the priority of the 
> government, through its tax policy, should be wealth redistribution 
> and the creation of economic social equality *more* than it should be 
> revenue provision for the government's needs. Gibson stated (and the 
> historical record supports, though the causality is arguable) that in 
> the past three decades each increase of the cap gains rate has 
> resulted in a decrease in tax revenue from cap gains, while each 
> decrease in the rate has increased revenue. Fiscal responsibility be 
> damned, it isn't as important to Barack as "fairness" --- which, 
> presumably, means that people should not earn more than others through 
> the industrious application of capital, at least.
> This tells me everything I need to know about the man, and tells me 
> that no matter how much I'd love to see the GOP lose the White House, 
> I would be selling every principle I have down the river if I were to 
> vote for Obama.
Oh. Come. On. I know you are not that closed minded. No politician is 
going to pitch socialism in the US. Or try to kill the stock market.
> I have a problem with the concept of "fair" when the notion means that 
> any advantages of brain or effort or bank account should be smoothed 
> away by the government. I also have a problem with the notion of 
> "change at all costs." The problem with asking "how could it get any 
> worse?" --- is that you might get an answer. Barack's been pretty 
> vague about the change he wants (other than in the White House itself) 
> --- but when he has been clear, I haven't liked the answers at all.
Fair in the debate comments seemed much more to be "everyone should live 
by the same rules" rather than being the setting for an Ayn Rand story.
> I've been a tremendously outspoken critic of the present 
> administration and its party since shortly after it took office. I 
> find myself pained to have to consider voting for that party's 
> candidate in the upcoming election; but I sure as hell won't be voting 
> for Mr. Obama should his party nominate him. And that's unfortunate, 
> because after 8 years of the current gibbering idiot in the White 
> House flinging feces at foreign powers and making a hash of any 
> reasonable domestic policy, it would be nice to have someone as 
> eloquent, policy-oriented and diplomatic in the office.
> jb

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