Isn’t Obama, umm…rich? UPDATE

I’m sorry, I’m not looking to cause any trouble here — you know I’m a peaceful girl at heart — but am I missing something in the class-war-income-inequality narratives?

I mean Obama and the Democrats keep making noises that approximate a tune that goes like this: “millionaires and billionaires are bad.”

Which, as Glenn Reynolds points out, was not the case when John Kerry and John Edwards (not to mention Al Gore) were Democrat candidates.

The refrain to that song, of course, is about income inequality but not everyone wants to sing it.

What seems to be lost in this endlessly playing sing-along is the fact that President Obama and his wife are millionaires who have no problem enjoying $81 dollar American Wagyu steaks during an evening out.

Hey, I don’t begrudge them the steak; I would never spend $81 bucks on a steak, but that’s me — I’m a very middle class sort. I wound’t even spend $40 on a steak. I might spend it on a lobster, if there was a Ceasar salad to start.

But my point is this: at what point can we reasonably expect the press — and the Democrats, themselves, but I am redundant — open their eyes to the staggering cognitive dissonance that exists between the rhetoric that pours from them, and the way they actually live their lives?

It’s kind of like what (confirmed liberal) Dick Meyer said back in 2009:

It is precisely the same cognitive dissonance that allowed the Democratic Party to nominate John Kerry and John Edwards – combined net worth, about $1 billion – to bash the rich, bemoan the split of the “two Americas” and beat up on George and Dick for being pals of the rich. When the rich, or those profiting from the rich, condemn other, less enlightened rich people, skin crawls. And many Americans – to the chagrin of Democrats, Marxists and Europeans – tend not to begrudge the rich and hyper-rich their riches. [. . .] It is a kind of limousine liberalism that I believe also afflicts the Democratic Party too often, a conceit that “we are the enlightened rich.”

Bill Clinton didn’t bash the rich a lot, but he could have; Johns Kerry and Edwards did bash the rich a lot, and it flopped. It flopped partly because Americans who are not rich simply do not have a European-style, class base resentment. Americans aspire to being rich. That’s the American way. But the ’04 Democratic rhetoric also flopped because the guys spewing looked like such phonies; they weren’t just rich, they were richer than the Republicans: they were hyper-rich.

Yeah. I suppose what we’re looking at in the Obama class-war rhetoric so faithfully echoed in the press is the building of an incomplete (“cherry-picked” if you like) narrative intended to get people so worked up, resentful and emotion-driven by November ’12, they’ll fail to notice that that the encouragements and praises they hear for “keeping it real” in the OWS camps and on the welfare lines are all being called out to them from the swiftly-passing limousines of the endlessly privileged — the people who want us to believe that handing out unemployment benefits creates more jobs than actual, historic job-creators do, and whose lives will remain largely untouched by the effects of their ruinous policies.

Why pretend to bash the rich when you are the rich, when your party is top-heavy with the so-called “filthy rich” like Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Jon Corzine, and the denizens of Hollywood and High-Finance and oh, yes, Publishing, and New Media and the Endowed-unto-Illness Ivies? Why pretend there is an inherent evil in some people having more than others, or suggest that only government can be counted on to “help” people, when um, the people who “helped” you pull together nearly a billion dollars for your presidential campaign were, you know…rich?

Understand, I don’t want the Obama’s $81 steaks. I don’t even want their access to a tony restaurant or a private dining area. I’d rather not have to get dressed up. But it seems to me that a president should not want to eat an $81 steak if he is disdainful of others who do so.

And if he is not disdainful, if he really believes that everyone should have the opportunity to land an $81 steak, does he really think that unemployment benefits, rather than jobs will deliver that steak to the masses?

Or perhaps that’s what the whole “eat the rich” thing is about? They eat American Wagyu steak and the rest of us get to suck it from their marrow?

Somehow I don’t think the Wagyu will come through. No matter how well wagged we are.

UPDATE: Who are the 1%?

I did not include any praise for Republicans in this piece, my point was about the cognitive dissonance being demonstrated in the demonizing the rich — or certain portions of “the rich” — while behaving just like the caricatures of thoughtless, greedy capitalists we’re supposed to disdain. This, unfortunately, is pretty much what the Dems and their helpers in the press, are doing. I cannot help the fact that (right now, at least) it is the Democrats, not the Republicans who are lecturing everyone about income inequality while going on pricey vacations, making killings in the markets, and eating luxuriously, or that the same folks are lecturing us about our lightbulbs and how much toilet paper we are using, while they plan stadium concerts and political rallies under the bright lights. If the President had an R after his name and the circumstances were precisely the same, my complaint would be the same, although I doubt the press would be playing along…I’m pretty sure they’d be as bothered as I am under that circumstance. Given that I have not written a single word of praise for the Republicans in this piece, I didn’t think I had to make a point of saying they’re no better. But apparently, I must say that. They’re no better. I have little regard and almost no respect for any politician in this country, right now, and hold no allegiance to any party. I quite concur with Mark Shea who says “it is no longer about conservative vs liberal; it’s about the elites vs the rest of us. A pox on both their houses, say I!

Nevertheless, the cognitive dissonance is real, it’s easy to spot, unless you’re deliberately wearing blinders. Wagging the non-stop partisan fingers in the comboxes is diversionary, I suppose, and perhaps it makes some people feel better — I find it merely tiresome at this point — but make no mistake, when those limousines drive by, cheering us all on for “keeping it real” the occupants being driven to their next soiree will be both Democrats and Republicans. Can I be any clearer? Orwell said it best. We are in the Animal Farm, where all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.

James Taranto: The Passive-Aggressive Presidency

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • jkm

    You have to stop it. Your reasonableness is sucking the last of the kneejerk liberal marrow out of my bones, and I’m nowhere near ready to sign up for a full conservative graft. As with my similar spiritual dilemma, there’s nothing for it but to stand out here and pray.

    But thank you for making me think. I think.

  • Romulus

    Trying to decide here if national politics in America is more theatre or liturgy. For both voters and candidates, it’s a formalist, content-free ritual.

  • Todd

    I hear a lot more complaints about the rich from the 99 than I do the upper-crust 1 of either political party. Regardless, it’s probably time to hike the tax rate on the wealthy, if nothing else, to urge them down to the $40 steak range. As for me, give me my rice and beans and I’m happy.

  • DWiss

    Warning! Cynical comment to follow!

    Obama wasn’t rich until he became a politician. Romney only pays 15% in income tax – leaglly. Newt’s a millionaire professor/politician. The Clintons are now worth tens of millions (commodity trading?). We just learned last fall that politicians can legally trade on inside information, and that most of them do. They make laws that they don’t have to follow. They’re hypocrites, but at least they’re consistent. For these people, politics and personal wealth are exactly the same thing. Of course they eat $80 steaks instead of $1.49 hot dogs at Costco. But we’re paying for the steaks just the same, one way or another. Remember that in November.

  • Tom the Redhunter

    Yes well being wealthy is only an issue when you’re conservative, or at least running as a Republican against THE ONE.

    As for Obama, he just wants to help people, you see. He cares. And although he’s rich he wants to heavily tax other rich people to pay poor people for not working. So that makes him good. Or something like that.

  • Katherine

    That attitude baffles me. I don’t want to use the force of the government to deny others the fruits of their labor because they can afford a more expensive cut of meat than I.

    I don’t begrudge the millionaire his yacht, I celebrate that the yacht maker gets to practice his craft.

  • William Cook

    Wagyu Cattle, that’s wonderful! Wag you! (Like a dog:-) 

    Romulus, national politics in America is more like liturgy; it is both formalized AND content-rich! 

  • Manny

    Anchoress, your arguing with facts. Facts don’t matter to these people.

  • Oregon Catholic

    It’s probably cheaper than the cost of the private chef prepared meals they eat at the WH every day.

  • jkm

    @Manny, I’m these people. And I just conceded facts make a difference.

  • Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    My mood has passed, so I am not here to fight. I am here to say some things that might now agree with your post or the general mood.

    What politician is not rich? That’s one question. One needs money and lots of it – which is sad, pathetic and disgusting to me, but that’s another story for another day. So fair enough on that, however…

    Where does it say that Obama and the Democrats say all this millionaires are bad etc? Yes, I see the links. As read and study, what I see and hear more is that there is income inequality – that is another story. Referring back to my first point – what politician is not rich?

    Romney’s money is at issue over his tax rate. Honestly, I think that money earned through work should be taxed at 15% and investments at 35%, but what do I know?

    For what it is worth, I drove home wondering -as well as wondering how to bring it up – that you spend what seems to be an inordinate amount of time telling us about what you dislike about the Obamas, how the Democrats are so awful and duplicitious, etc, etc.

    Who do you like and why do you like them? Wouldn’t that be a better use of time and energy?

    As Todd said, I think that the 1% and all the 1% wannabes spend a lot more time tearing down the 99% of the rest of us. But hey, that’s just me and I have, back in my at-the-higher-end-of-99% days, ordered more than a few ridiculously priced meals. Frankly, I don’t miss it.

  • Lawrence Cunningham

    Please! The issue is not money but this: I want Mittens to pay income tax at the same rate that I do. I will take 15% any day of the week.

  • Dan C

    Grover Norquist, a wealthy man, determined ten years ago that the degradation of the poor by Republicans (by which we are taught to regret providing the poor with even the scraps of our luxury) was not enough. The true beneficiaries of the government were the middle class and he had to turn the middle class against itself.

    Any thought this battle is to reduce welfare benefits is ridiculous. This is to reduce the burden the wealthy have to support parks and libraries and senior centers.

    Spend some time with the wealthy. It is an ugly eye opener. That socially and commonwealth benefits result from their efforts is purely accidental. They seek wealth for the sake of wealth and this is not Christian, or at least no Catholic. So says Benedict’s Truth in Love, the that writing of Benedict that rarely gets air time in conservative blogs. (Benedict is safe to discuss when he writes about “spiritual” things for conservatives.).

    Trust not the “job creator” either. He is no more trustworthy or less selfish than the poor. He just is less likely to suffer from want.

  • Greta

    Great post and wonderful writing again. If you look at comments, you can easily see that for some, they have no way of listening and actually looking at facts and logic and/or they have little idea of what makes our country work well.

    I started a company of one person, myself a long time ago, at great risk. When I retired and sold the company to key employees a few years back, we had grown to over a thousand employees. I worked 80 hour weeks, especially in the formative years to keep things moving and during many of those years, my pay was the last out of the company and at very low levels. My husband, Mark, is outstanding with financial matters and has managed to take what we have earned and turned it into a very nice amount of money. I am also very much aware of how much money has been made by those who invested in me and my company and I resent them not a single penny. We would not have survived in some cases without investment at timely points and none of the jobs created would be there today. Those who purchased the company have gone out and gained more capital for growth and will soon have over 2,000 employees. Once again these employees would not have jobs without this investment. Good investors bring a lot more than money, they bring some outstanding help and support. For every investment that goes well, there are many that go left. Having the very unique ability to “smell” which ones to invest in is in my view a gift. Because of the importance to almost every business in this country to have capital when needed, the government wisely has made investments something they want to promote and many who really understand how all this works believe that this would stir the economy if it were not higher taxed, but lower if at all until we get people working again.

    At the same time, I can attest that “investment” by government is always a bad idea. If it takes a good business instinct to find good investments by the best investment groups, none of them get into the government. If the government had to live up to the same standards and regulations as those running or investing in business, they would all be in jail. They invest not in what will create jobs or make this country better, but in ways that rewards friends and donors and helps them stay in power and gain more power. This is true not just of those we vote for, but in many ways all the way down the government chain. The government employees with real day to day power remain in place as the political hacks come and go and then know what can be done and what cannot be done. They work the political hacks in both parties like a concertmaster does an orchestra. What does make a difference is one side is tied to big government solutions for everything, even when they are well aware that none of them work. Where it could impact them or their buddies, they provide a waiver or hidden loopholes in massive bills. What we need is those who believe government does not work well and want to start to return it to sanity. Where is that? In my view, it would be back to JFK and what was in place right before he was killed. But it cannot happen over night. It has to happen a block at a time from the top with a concerted effort to make sure those people in real control are changed out with those determined to phase their job out or make it work efficientyly and with clearly understood purpose. Just changing out part of the political hacks will have little true impact. It needs to see a reduction in the overall party of big government so they cannot block the essential changes. And then we need to keep the other party under close watch and measure them by results.

  • Thomas R

    In fairness I think many wealthy Democrats are actually sincere about a desire to pay more taxes, feel bad, etc. It’s a bit more unusual for a person who is largely self-made, in that his wealth isn’t inherited, to feel this way but it’s not unheard of.

    Also I believe in comparative terms Obama is actually not particularly rich for a non-local politician.

  • Jim Treacher

    An inability to recognize one’s own double standards isn’t a defect in the liberal mindset. It IS the liberal mindset.

  • Peggy Bowes

    Thomas, the wealthy Democrats may be “sincere” about paying taxes but they don’t seem to “feel bad” when they don’t, as evidenced by the parade of non-tax-paying wealthy Dems with whom Obama tried to fill his Cabinet when first elected.

  • dry valleys

    European elites are themselves willing to pay to sustain successful social democarcies, in fact a group of wealthy Frenchmen quite recently contacted Sarkozy to ask that he raise their taxes. “Libertarians” say, as if it were some kind of argument, that anyone who wants to donate to the goveernment is welcome to do so any time. But they want these taxes to be universal, including on themselves.

    And this reflects the fact that in Europe, elites are more genuinely patriotic than in America, or in Britain which is in mid-Atlantic as usual. They know that the social contract is what has made their success possible. Elizabeth Warren was vilified, and I remember the hysterical conspiracy theories that circulated, when she addressed the 1% in these very terms. It is better to acknowledge this than to threaten to move to Switzerland or the Caribbean to avoid paying your fair share in taxes.

    If my own taxes are automatically taken out of my wages, I can’t evade them, nor can I hire parasitical lawyers and accountants to get me through loopholes. There should thus be a progressive tax rate, and it’s one of the few good things the British government has done to raise the level at which people begin to pay income tax so very low earners are exempt. I am above that level, but now I pay less than I once did (on wages that were, again, not raised in 2011).

    And it is known amongst Democrats, and for that matter many Republicans, that there is more than one way of being rich. A successful entrepeneur is different to a banker or a management consultant who lives off the sweat of the working classes.

    And while I don’t believe Gingrich has any principles or believes what comes out of his own mouth, you have to consider why he vilified Romney over his “work” at Bain. It’s because feigning outrage over this issue goes down well with the sort of person who goes to vote in a Republican primary, and also the sort of person who is an independent and might have voted for Obama but be considering a switch. Like you say it is, therefore, a cross-party issue that some have got rich through dubious means, often directly via the state as in bailouts.

    As for Obama himself, he is an interesting phenomenon, the most archetypal case of which is Tony Blair. By your standards or mine, he is rich. Yet his Harvard pals, and these people he hangs round with at Martha’s Vineyard, are much richer. So he actually probably thinks “If I hadn’t become POTUS, I’d actually have more money and a more luxurious lifestyle”! Which is probably true. That explains, really, why he acts in such a way, especially given that he was poor as a youth, and therefore likes the thought of riches and security more than someone who takes that sort of thing for granted.

    [Interesting comment, DV; I think the biggest issue over here is the idea of a socialist democracy, which in your country is something already assented to and is simply a matter of degrees. In mine there is still a big game going on about what we're even talking about when we say "socialist". Must correct you, though. Obama was not raised "in poverty." His grandparents were solidly middle-class -- perhaps even slightly "upper" middle class. He did not grow up in deprivation and by the time he was an adolescent he was attending a private school in Hawaii. Jesus was born in a manger, not Obama! :-) Obama grew up much like the rest of his countrymen, at least in terms of economy. -admin]

  • dry valleys

    Besides which, if they didn’t have their own or others’ wealth, they wouldn’t be able to stand in the first place. The idea of state funding of political parties if often entertained in Britain, but never gets taken any further, mainly because it would be on the basis of vote share, and they can’t decide on which elections should be used as a benchmark, or the fate of smaller parties. So it is necessary for Obama to be rich or surrounded by people who are rich, although hopefully less so if more individuals can be persuaded to give small amounts.

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  • Seabisquit

    I do not begrudge Oboma featuring $81 steaks when the eat out or have a party. I am happy many can eat out more than we can, and at places that are not fast food joints. But I do deeply resent it when they do it off my taxes or when they have gotten wealthy as a politician by “bribe” or by giving breaks to others who I have to compete with.

  • Mutnodjmet

    Anchoress: You are so on target today! I was thinking exactly the same thing, especially as the Obamas went to Disneyworld shortly after the $4 million vacay to Hawaii. The Disneyworld trip comes on the heels of Obama quashing the Keystone pipeline deal that would have employed thousands and freed us from the shackles of oil from countries lead by thugs and dictators. I guess now these Americans have the free time to be tourists.

    Furthermore, I was appalled that Diane Sawyer was in a snit about Romney’s speaking fees of about $380,000 — when she earns millions for reading telepromptered reports. Blatant, vile class warfare tactics that reek of hypocrisy!

    The Obama Administration can be summarized as follows. They don’t care — and they don’t care that you know they don’t care.

  • LarryD

    I think it’s driven by status anxiety. They are afraid of being outdone by those willing to work hard, all of this class warfare stuff is an obscured attempt to protect their status by keeping other people from making good.

  • Maureen from Canada

    We are having a similar argument in Canada about Member of Parliament pensions which cost the taxpayer $23 for very $1 put into them – they are truly gold plated. Yet there are many MPs that will claim that they need that and are entitled to the pensions because they ‘give up’ their careers to be an MP and they have a lot of uncertainity in being an MP because they might not get elected. Maybe some do, but for a whole lot more, their career is being an MP. And if you don’t get reelected you should go back to the career you had before you were an MP.

    Maybe I’m being naive, but at one time I thought being an MP, a Senator, a Representative was a mark of wanting to contribute to your country and was a public service – not a career option!!! Clearly I missed that presentation at career days in high school.

  • gs

    Why pretend there is an inherent evil in some people having more than others, or suggest that only government can be counted on to “help” people, when um, the people who “helped” you pull together nearly a billion dollars for your presidential campaign were, you know…rich?

    According to the opposing faction, the distribution of US wealth is a by-product of how the free market maximizes overall economic benefits. Either everything is fine or the government should seize the supposed excess wealth. No alternatives enter public discourse.

    Governance by false dichotomy.

  • Sherry

    @Thomas R. I’d like to be “not particularly rich” like the politicians like Obama. ;)

  • bill

    Your premise that “millionaires and billionaires are bad” is flawed from the beginning which makes honest debate almost impossible. As a Catholic you should know something about social justice — which is a hell of a lot more complex than the tired canard of ‘eating the rich.’

    You’re what’s wrong with America lady.

  • Jeffersonian

    I do not begrudge the Obamas their $81 dollar steaks either. I’m sure they enjoy them quite well.
    It just that knowing others might be enjoying them as well makes it not quite so special for them and they really like feeling “special.”
    It is also why the progs want us proles to drive electric firebombs like the volt while they tool around in SUVs and limos.
    It is a whole new entitlementallity.

  • Jonathan

    I’m sorry but Liberals do not hate the rich. Liberals hate what some of the rich do with their money and how they look down upon the lower and middle classes and act like those classes are only poor because of a “lack of work ethic” or “drugs” or “laziness.”

    Its especially maddening when it comes from someone who was born into wealth and never earned it on their own.

    We do not hate rich people.

    We hate the ones who act like they’re better than us. There are plenty of rich people we don’t hate. Having wealth is not going to make us hate you. It’s what you *do* with it.

  • dry valleys

    You’re not very good at this reading lark, are you Bill?

  • matt

    Millionaire Obama: I want to raise taxes on myself and lower them for the middle class.

    Millionaire Republican candidates: I want to lower taxes for myself and raise them for the middle class.

    You: Voting against your own self-interest.

  • scott

    Mutnodjmet wrote:
    “The Disneyworld trip comes on the heels of Obama quashing the Keystone pipeline deal that would have employed thousands and freed us from the shackles of oil from countries lead by thugs and dictators. ”

    You might want to check your facts there. The whole point of the Keystone pipeline is to build a pipeline (temporary jobs, and long term job loss from the trucking industry that currently moves the oil)) to pre-existing old technology refineries to sell the results to other countries (not freeing us from shackles at all). None of that oil was planned to stay in the states.

    If you really want what you are claiming, you would be against the Keystone pipeline, and instead be for new refineries built in the northern states, and require a percentage of oil/gas/whatever to remain in the states.

    Anyway, back to the original point. Kerry WAS lambasted in the media for his wealth. In fact one of the main points during that campaign was that he was out of touch with the common folk (hey, look at this picture of him waterskiing), and Bush was someone who you could have a beer with.

    The main difference right now is that the platform for millionaire Republicans is “the tax rates need to be reduced for only millionaires.” They aren’t hating millionaires, they are saying that millionaires do not need a discount when there are many,many,many more people in this country do. The fact that the 6 Walmart heirs have more wealth together than the 90 million poorest Americans should tell you that the heirs don’t really need a tax break.

    The other side of this is that the millionaires are not the “job creators.” The millionaires are the investors who plunge money into wall street hoping to turn a profit on short term trades (and who get to pay off those profits at 15%). The job creators are the small business people, people who are likely to strike it out on their own, who often use their home and credit cards to finance their businesses. These are not millionaires either, who would qualify for the top tax bracket reductions.

  • Sam

    1.) You were given the gift of a brain, try using it to maybe understand reality. Liberals are not complaining about wealth. But you know that already, just shamelessly and hypocritical trying to make a very disingenuous argument. I suppose it is too difficult to take the time to actually find out what people are complaining about.
    2.) As a Catholic let me say, you are a farking disgrace. You know that book, it’s called the Bible? Try farking reading it for once instead using religion to ignorant support you shallow believes. FYI it will be a heck of a lot easier to thread an aircraft carrier through a needle than for you to get to heaven. Might also want to look up those parts about lying as well. Good reading. Less time blogging, more time learning…you farking need it.

  • david foster

    Obviously, it spoils the fun of eating an $81 steak if people outside the charmed circles of political power and academic influence are allowed to do the same.

  • pst314

    Fran Rossi Szpylczyn: Do you know how they get rich? That’s the real outrage. Cronyism and shakedowns.

  • 5ftflirt

    “…it is the Democrats, not the Republicans who are lecturing everyone about income inequality while going on pricey vacations, making killings in the markets, and eating luxuriously, or that the same folks are lecturing us about our lightbulbs and how much toilet paper we are using, while they plan stadium concerts and political rallies under the bright lights…..”

    It’s amazing how many liberals who supposedly “care about the poor” and denounce “income inequality” defend this kind of noblesse oblige when their hero does it. I have seen them argue that he’s entitled to spend his earned money as he pleases, and if he “fights for the poor” it doesn’t matter how rich he is, that he works so hard he deserves to spend 10 million tax-payer dollars for vacations (which is about what it’s added up to by this point).

    But it was horrible when Bush did it of course! (Bush spent about 20 million in personal travel in 8 years. Obama is on track to spend that much in 4 years). And it was horrible that McCain “had 6 houses” and a rich wife. Of course it was ok that John Kerry had several houses and a rich wife.

    Until recently an American politician had to at least pretend to be a man of the people – remember Nixon’s “Republican cloth coat”? Now they get to spend like Louis the 16th when the people lack bread, and you are racist if you point that out.

    But this is typical of banana republic demagogues. The people they manipulate LOVE the Leader’s trappings of wealth, because it’s the Leader doing it. Is that how far we’ve sunk from the ideals of our country?

  • Chris

    Personally I think the outrage from the Democrats isn’t because people are rich.

    It’s because when you’re rich it becomes very easy to make more money with money but that option isn’t available to a normal citizen. This cause’s a greater wealth imbalance than is needed. The crux of the problem is the rich can make an exorbitant amount of money sitting around doing nothing and letting investments grow while a normal worker can’t easily move up and make more money by just working hard.

    I’m fully aware Democrats are just as wealthy as Republicans and made their money the same way. But their platform says they want to change the economic structure so it’s easier for the common person to earn a higher wage (at least in my viewpoint). It’s possible they won’t deliver on what their platform says, but that’s not really a reason to vote the other way.

    Obama is rich. I already knew that. Even if I didn’t I don’t really see why this is relevant to my political views, unless you’re suggesting he won’t follow through on the “Class Warfare” promises he’ll make because it’ll cut into his income – which is possible for sure. When my choice is between someone who might do it (Obama) and someone who won’t (the Republican Candidate) I’ll go with the one who has a chance to do it though.

    Plus I don’t know if this really qualifies as “Class Warfare”. Proposed tax raises (which is actually just ending a cut rather than a raise – and a cut that shouldn’t’ve been implemented during a war anyways, but I digress) on millionaires in a time where raising the taxes on the lower classes could mean people not eating isn’t really “Class Warfare” as much as common sense. Millionaires can afford to lose a little more to taxes. The lower class can’t.

  • WhyMeats

    I understand the POV of the author who wrote this article. I also understand that it’s just not true. If you listen to anything Obama says it has nothing to do with penalizing the rich or demonizing them. The voters have made that characterization themselves, e.g. OWS, the media, etc.

    Obama’s point is that it’s about simple math. There is only one pie and only so much wealth inside that pie. His point is that the people who are well off should begin to pay their NORMAL tax rates again, i.e. lose the Bush tax cuts. Yes, I know he extended them, but he had to at the time.

    If you’re a millionare and you pay your FAIR share, the extra 3-5% off your gross, then you can still afford those $81 steaks. Pretty sure I could afford another 3-5% off my gross and I don’t make 6 figures.

    Also, he’s the president. Pretty sure that’s SOP for THE MOST POWERFUL MAN IN THE WORLD!

    [See, I haven't forgotten all the folderol coming out of Obama's mouth (and others) in 2009 about "fat cats in private jets" and "Las Vegas conferences" which did tremendous and lasting damage to places like Vegas. I listened closely and I wasn't hearing and am still not hearing the sort of mature and balanced language that could reasonably discuss rising tides lifting all boats. I haven't forgotten busloads of people showing up at the house of bankers or "tours" identifying the houses of the rich. The undercurrent of class warfare has been part of Obama's rhetoric since he took office. And at the same time, Freddie Mac ne-er do wells were pocketing tens of millions in bonuses, and congressfolk and senators were making money on markets they knew they were affecting. So I am simply not buying the "if some would pay more, all this talk would go away" nonsense. What I'm seeing are people who have so much money that a raise in their taxes will not affect them at all, making more and more money, and paying no attention at all to how raising taxes on "the 1% will affect the small businesses and corporations who create the JOBS people need. We can't all work for the government. If jobs do not come back to the private sector, who is going to pay for the continual benefits we are all going to end up needing? Let's face it, Obama, the Clintons, Kerry, Pelosi, Maxine Waters (and Romney and McCain and many Republicans) and all of their monied pals on Wall Street and in media -- they have not felt the effect of this downturn, and they won't. They are protected; they are so rich they are their own fortresses. But if the rest of us can't find jobs (because small businesses can't afford to hire us and corporations prefer to stay liquid) then we can't pay taxes, and if we can't pay taxes, revenues drop, and if revenues drop, there is no money for benefits or entitlements. And if there is no money for benefits and entitlements, then what? Say what you want about the evil Bush Tax Cuts, but in 2006, unemployment was low, everyone was working and even the NY Times (in April, you can look it up) admitted that tax revenues were at "record highs" which was resulting in an "ahead of schedule" paying down of the deficit. It was squandered, of course, but nevertheless, the foundational truth was this: when people are working, the tax revenues go up. Job creation is talked about constantly in DC, but the partisanship is so poisonous that jobs do not get created. Obama will only do things his way and won't work with congress. Congress wants things their way and won't work with the Exec. branch. And in the meantime...people argue about ephemera in comboxes. Yeah, we're screwed. That being said....this piece was about cognitive dissonance. And I stand by the fact that there is a boatload of it, right now, in the Democrat party, willfully unnoticed in the press. -admin]

  • 5ftflirt

    “the rich can make an exorbitant amount of money sitting around doing nothing and letting investments grow while a normal worker can’t easily move up and make more money by just working hard.”

    What do you think happens to the investment money? It gets invested! And spent! It doesn’t sit under someone’s mattress. For example, it funds a large part of the NYC economy, including restaurants, cabbies, clothes, other middle to low income jobs which rich people pay for.

    Your average middle-class person has investments in their 401k, for example. Rich people’s investments in same help the companies grow, so that middle-class investments grow also.

    If all this bothers you, withdraw all your stock in companies funded by rich people, and add those which pay CEOs high salaries. Otherwise, just think about what you are saying.

  • David

    Outside of seeing the benefits of higher taxes on people who can afford them, what has Obama said that makes you think he hates rich people?

    During the campaign, he would often talk about raising taxes on people ‘like me’. And just because he’s rich and liberal, that means he’s not allowed to spend it?

    The past several decades have shown us that when the marginal tax rate is dropped, recession happens. It happened under Nixon, it happened under Reagan (and George Bush Sr. bore the wrath of the voters over it), and it happened under George W. Bush. And the reason the Republicans are unwilling the fix it is because that would mean having to admit that they were wrong for all these years.

    And as far as high marginal tax rates killing jobs, if you dropped the rate of someone making $1m a year by 4% (as opposed to ‘socking it to the rich’ by raising it that much, as the Democrats propose), what do you think they’d do with that extra $40k? You think they’d create a $40k a year job out of the goodness of their hearts? No, they’d only create jobs if you put that money in the hands of middle-class Americans who would then spend that money on the products or services sold by this 1%er. The 1%er would be forced by business sense to hire more people to keep up with demand. Once they’ve done that, you know where the extra profits go? That’s right, into the pockets of the 1%er whose products and services middle-class Americans bought in the first place.

    I’ll guarantee you, and history backs me up, if you raise taxes by 4% on the top 1% of the country, the economy will improve because the money will circulate. Middle-class Americans are more likely to spend that money locally on quantity spending (items that you need to sell in quantity to turn a solid profit, like low/middle end cars or trips to clothes stores that cater to the middle class) and the 1%ers are more likely to spend that money abroad (vacations in Mexico or Europe) and on quality spending (items that you don’t need to sell a lot of to turn a large profit, like luxury cars and high-end housing).

  • 5ftflirt

    “their platform says they want to change the economic structure so it’s easier for the common person to earn a higher wage (at least in my viewpoint). ”

    That’s what their platform SAYS, but in practice it doesn’t do that, as many nations have found out over the past 300-400 years.

    In fact, the GOP platform says the same thing, and its ideas for changing the economic structure actually work. See which states are creating jobs and which are losing them, for example.

  • David

    BTW, here’s a strawman argument from 5ftflirt:

    And it was horrible that McCain “had 6 houses” and a rich wife. Of course it was ok that John Kerry had several houses and a rich wife.

    You know what else they had in common?

    They both lost.

    Good effort though.

  • 5ftflirt

    “Millionaires can afford to lose a little more to taxes. The lower class can’t.”

    Millionaires already pay the vast majority of taxes in this country, and 45% of the population pay nothing. The more you tax people, the more they look for ways to shelter their money. At some point you have killed the goose which lays the golden eggs. This is already happening in many states, when tax revenues go flat after taxes were raised.

    Anyway, the 1% includes people who ARE small business owners, some of whom decide to retire because the combined tax/regulatory burden just makes it not worth it anymore. There go more jobs.

    Personally i don’t care if Bill Gates has 5 billion dollar. His industry created more than that in jobs, which then go on creating wealth. And his investments create even more jobs. good for him. His gain is my gain, not my loss.

  • 5ftflirt

    “You think they’d create a $40k a year job out of the goodness of their hearts?”

    No, because they invest in companies which then can grow and create jobs because they need them to grow.

    “No, they’d only create jobs if you put that money in the hands of middle-class Americans who would then spend that money on the products or services sold by this 1%er.”

    Which they do by funding the businesses which can then grow.

    “The 1%er would be forced by business sense to hire more people to keep up with demand.”


    “Once they’ve done that, you know where the extra profits go? That’s right, into the pockets of the 1%er whose products and services middle-class Americans bought in the first place.”

    Which then get not only invested some more, but also pay for items people want to sell to him. Like yachts, corporate jets, hotel rooms in Vegas, fancy restaurants…. all industries which have had to lay off working-class people because the rich don’t use them as much.

    Obama’s campaign is fueled by people who don’t understand the first thing about economics.

  • 5ftflirt

    “There is only one pie and only so much wealth inside that pie.”

    Completely and utterly wrong. And that’s the class warfare lie. But Obama – who never worked in business his entire life – knows nothing about wealth creation and is a Leftist through and through so of course he believes this.

    If there was only one pie, we would still be living in caves. Civilization is the story of enlarging the pie through innovation and competition. Investment and business CREATE wealth, government doesn’t.

    For example, Silicon Valley, 1980 – now, is a perfect example of creating enormous wealth which has been spread around to millions who invested in that sector as well as being employed by it. That industry didn’t exist 50 years ago.

    You and Obama completely do not get this, but you would fit right into North Korea.

  • iliketurtles

    It’s like there was a massive economic downturn recently or something, possibly caused by the wealthiest among us that harmed the poorest among us.
    Nah, that can’t be it. CLASS WAR! Arugula!

  • Seriph

    I appritiate your arguement but I think you misunderstand. Democrats do not hate the rich, in fact like most I hope to one day be in that catagory. We be object to a system that favors the rich. The rich, by definition, already have plenty and we do not need a system to help them get richer.

    My problem is not that someone can afford a 81 dollar steak and I can’t, thats fine they (or their family in most cases) earned that. My problem is that it is assumed that I am expected to contribute as much, or more than the rich despite the fact that I can barley pay my bill. My problem is that while the rich get raises, make more money and pay less in taxes I am told the company can’t afford to give me a raise or, worse yet, even keep me on board.

    So please, eat your steak. Just don’t complained over being over taxed when you still bring in 50 times what I do after taxes.

  • doc

    Boy, did this piece bring the lefties out of the woodwork. I wonder how many of the redistributionists here earn their living from the contributions of taxpayers. I’m certain that all the people who ran the companies I’ve worked for are rich. I’m glad they did well enough to hire me and the rest of the folks I work with. If I feel they are not compensating me fairly, I am free, once again, to test the free market and find someone who will pay me more and give me better benefits. This is the system which made the USA the envy of the world. It is interesting how much envy seeps through the comments of those who buy into the OWS garbage.

    During the 2008 campaign, Obama revealingly said that he intended to fundamentally change America. The rubes who got their news feed from the corporate media assumed he intended to make it a better and more prosperous place. Those of us who were paying attention knew he meant just the opposite. Let’s hope there are fewer rubes this time around.

  • MissJean

    I’m late to the party, but I thought I’d address a couple of things.
    Re: dislike of raised taxes: “This is to reduce the burden the wealthy have to support parks and libraries and senior centers.”

    I don’t know where you live, but her in Michigan, libraries and senior centers are paid for via millage – that is, tax based on one’s property value. Millages go to a vote, and most people who generally vote “no” are middle-income mortgage holders and fixed-income retirees with paid-off homes. For example, it used to be a truism in my hometown that old folks would never vote for schools millages, since most were Ford and GM retirees who’d moved “up north” for the lower cost of living and had no children/grandchildren in local schools or college. They weren’t wealthy; they were voting on their own interests.

    “Honestly, I think that money earned through work should be taxed at 15% and investments at 35%, but what do I know?”

    Sounds good to me, except that it discourages investment. If you scrimp and save now to put money in a 401K or IRA, you’re a sucker. The grasshopper next door who goes on cruises, buys the latest tech, etc. is going to qualify for benefits that you, the “rich” retiree, don’t.

    Another problem is the value of other “investments” e.g. pension or property. In Michigan, pensions were tax-free but no longer will be – totally screwing over the people who planned for a small but tax-free pension. There’s also the occasional talk about getting rid of the Headlee Amendment, which caps the amount of property tax increases on primary homes. During the inflation of the ’70s, retirees found that they had to sell their (paid-for) houses because they couldn’t afford the property taxes after the home’s value jumped. What that would mean for the future is that all the folks who are currently buying a foreclosure or renting-to-own for a house now valued at $50K aren’t going to be sitting pretty in 15-20 years as a house-rich, income-poor retiree.

  • Micha Elyi

    “You [the Anchoress] have to stop it. Your reasonableness is sucking the last of the kneejerk liberal marrow out of my bones, and I’m nowhere near ready to sign up for a full conservative graft.”-jkm (10:08)

    Don’t think of it as a “graft”; recognize it as an infusion of adult stem cells.

    Continuing the analogy, liberal marrow produces an inflammatory response of which envy is a major symptom.

    By the way, when was the last time anyone heard a preacher remind us that envy is a sin?