This is Debbie. If taxes go up, it might be her fault.
“Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There’s no justification for it,” President Obama opined when he unveiled his $4 trillion deficit reduction plan last week.
Debbie Bosanek is Warren Buffet’s secretary. She must be a very powerful woman.
Not only has she been screening calls and looking after the details of Big Warren’s Billionaire Life for almost 20 years now, apparently she also has the power to turn the President into a warrior.
“You know what?” Obama asked the other day. “If asking a billionaire to pay their fair of taxes? To pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare, then you know what? I, I, I, I, I’m, I’m a warrior for the middle class.”
That was Obama last week in Cincinnati. And in Denver. And with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington. And in Seattle. And at a fundraiser held with middle class billionaires in California. The message has been consistent for at least a week now. Only a few words, the dialect and the cadence change from venue to venue. Apparently, when you talk to the Black Caucus, you leave your “g’s” at the door and your slippers at home.
But is this the same position Obama has held on raising taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” all along? If you haven’t been following closely, you might be confused about his stand on that issue. We can help you with that.
In August 2008, Candidate Obama was on the record wanting to “roll back a portion of the Bush tax cuts for families making more than $250,000” which would “put the top two income-tax brackets at 36% and 39.6%.”
“I’ll let the temporary Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% expire and close the corporate tax loopholes the lobbyists put in” was still the position when he made his closing argument just before the election on October 25th.
A few weeks after the election, however, in an uncharacteristic nod to reality “the President-elect signaled he may let slide his campaign pledge to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy”.
Since that didn’t play well with the panting base, on December 29th aides confirmed that Obama “wouldn’t back away from a promise to cut taxes on the middle class and raise them for the wealthiest Americans”.
By August of 2009, however, Obama wanted to assure us that “we have not proposed a tax hike for the wealthy” and that “the last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”
It went that way all through 2009 and 2010: back and forth, back and worth, with Nancy and The Base (no, not the punk band) screaming for the Bush tax cuts to be repealed, while the grown-ups on the economic team prevented Obama from shooting himself and the economy in the foot (again) by following through on that reckless promises.
By the time the results were in from last November’s landslide, it was clear that Obama was cornered. There was no way the Republicans were going to agree to let the cuts expire, and so finally, on December 17th Obama waived the white flag and crushed the hopes of his rabid left wing base by signing a two year extension of the hated tax cuts. In a typically disingenuous attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of debacle, Obama called it “a substantial victory for middle-class families across the country.”
The left fumed.
This year, the economic news has been relentlessly bad and getting worse and Obama seems to have run out of ideas and popularity. There was the ridiculous mid-western bus trip in August, followed by yet another vacation in Martha’s Vinyard, the widely panned “jobs bill” and then finally the deficit reduction plan.
It seems that the only idea Obama could come up with during his vacation retreat was to try to rewind back to day one. After almost three years, he wants another “jobs” bill which is really just another version of the failed stimulus to help him keep public service union support through election day, and he is again demanding that the wealthiest Americans “pay their fair share” in taxes.
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is a George Santayana quote most everyone is familiar with. Actually, Mr. Santayana never wrote that.
What this Spanish-born American philosopher did write in his book 1905 work The Life of Reason was “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.“
Obama seems to be condemned to repeat and repeat and repeat his mistakes, like some kind of political version of Groundhog Day. Unfortunately, we’re all condemned right along with him.
Apparently, Obama hasn’t had a fresh idea since he’s been on the national stage. Consider this exchange between candidate Obama and ABC’s Charlie Gibson during in an April 2008 Democrat debate.
GIBSON: All right. You have, however, said you would favour an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton,” which was 28 per cent. It’s now 15 per cent. That’s almost a doubling, if you went to 28 per cent.
But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 per cent.
GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 per cent.
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 per cent, 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?
OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
Ring any bells?
In 2008, and now again in 2011, Obama is prepared to do the wrong thing, and decrease revenues (!) as part of his Deficit Reduction Plan, all in the dubious name of “fairness”.
There is more to that Santayana quote that is usually not repeated, but which seems especially apt in this context.
“When experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
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