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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Fairness Foolishness

 I know it doesn’t sound fair, but the thing that strikes me the most about President Obama is the fact that he knows so very little about any important topic or issue.  I’m not suggesting that he is not smart, but rather that he fits Bill Buckley’s analysis of liberals in general, “It’s not that they aren’t smart, it’s just that so much of what they believe to be true isn’t true.”  The list of things that the everyday man or woman on the street knows as common sense seems to be beyond the grasp or understanding of our young President. 

Perhaps I should not be surprised.  Barack Obama’s resume is short and unimpressive.  Yes, he attended private schools with great reputations, from the elementary level, through prep school and on to Harvard.  So what?  Theory is great, but life is reality.  There’s no practical grounding in the President’s biography.  What jobs has he worked (I mean real jobs, not community organizer or government jobs)?  I’ve never heard that the President has worked a real job in his entire life, have you?  Being President of the United States is not supposed to be on the job training.  It’s not a job for ideologues or demagogues.  It’s a job for men and women who have practical experience in the real world, not the theoretical world of academia.  It’s a job for someone who understands the frailty of human nature.  It’s a job for someone who has been around the block a few times and worked with people enough to understand that there is no super race of humans, that they are all flawed and that all tend toward self-aggrandizement and personal power.
Only then can a President understand the philosophy of our Founders.  They feared a concentration of government power more than anything else.  They were tortured by the idea of creating a new society that would slide into the age old problem of rule by a few for the benefit of a few.  They were moral men and great students of history.  They were men and women who had much practical, real life experience under their belt, even at a relatively young age.
That the Obama Presidency is a failed presidency is on display for all to see.  It never got out of the starting gate.  It has been a presidency that cast aside all the wisdom and commonsense of those that preceded it and instead grasp onto a philosophy of powerful, centralized government that would have been an anathema to every one of the Founders.  It has embraced economic policies, social policies, domestic policies and even foreign policies that have never worked and will never work to the good of our nation. 
Socialism may sound good in the faculty lounge, but it’s about as practical as Plato’s Republic, Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, or Karl Marx’s Communist state.  It’s all dream world fantasy that leads to terrible misery and a loss of individual freedom. 
Today President Obama is running for re-election.  He can’t run on his record of less jobs, high taxes, less individual freedom, government cronyism, racial division, and over the cliff trillion dollar spending, so he has instead, decided to run on the issue of fairness.  In doing so, he plays fast and loose with the facts and counts on the misinformed and the uninformed to carry the day for him.
The problem with this strategy is that the President’s underlying idea of fairness is wrong and, in fact, his idea of fairness will lead to less fairness and further destruction of the American economy.  In short, the President is doubling down on his failed ideas and policies and hoping that a majority of the voters in November will believe his foolishness.  Of course, from a political perspective the President’s strategy may be a good one, no matter how cynical it is.
Let’s start with the President’s proclivity to take Bible quotes out of context.  The President is fond of saying that the wealthy should contribute more.  When Bill Clinton was in the White House he rolled out the idea that taxes were contributions and that everyone should contribute more.  Any fool knows that compulsory taxes are not the same thing as freely given contributions.  If you don’t pay your taxes,serious men in uniforms with guns in their holsters will come and cart you off to jail.  If I decide not to contribute to a charity, nothing happens expect maybe that charity suffers from a lack of necessary funds.  But nobody fears being sent to jail for not contributing to a charity.  So first of all, the issue is not about contributing, it’s about raising taxes on those who a few in power decide should pay more.  It’s not about contributing, it’s about higher taxes.
The President has repeatedly quoted Luke 12:48b, “A lot will be expected from everyone who has been given a lot.  More will be demanded from everyone who has been entrusted with a lot.”  The problem is that this quote from Jesus has absolutely nothing to do with economics or business or government.  The Bible is full of wisdom (much to be found especially Psalms and Proverbs of the Old Testament), but the overall message of the Bible is the story of God and his plan of salvation.  Luke 12:48b is a quote from Jesus speaking to his Disciples about sharing the Good News with others.  It’s about using our talents, time, and ability to spread the Gospel of Jesus to the world.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with a government economic policy.
The closest the Bible comes to giving us a picture of a fair and equitable governmental policy is found in the Old Testament in Leviticus 27:30.  It is important to remember that the Israelites lived under a theocracy.  God directly intervened in their lives through his anointed leaders—Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  These leaders combined spiritual leadership with governmental leadership.  Frail, sinful humans though they were, they were kept in check directly by God.  God established a means of worship and a means of supporting the Levites who served him in the tabernacle.  And what did God demand as a tithe of all the Israelites rich and poor?  This is what he said in Leviticus 27:30, “One tenth of what comes from the land, whether grain or fruit, is holy and belongs to the Lord.”  The rich man would, of course, pay more because he would have more flocks and grain.  The poor man would pay less, but it was expected that even the poor would participate in the tithe.  There is, of course, no demand by God that the rich man pay more than the 10% he is required to pay or that the poor pay less than the 10% that he too is required to pay.
This is the best Biblical example of what is the best and most equitable way to provide for the needs of government.  But today, 47% of all Americans pay no income taxes.  That is not good for them or for government.  Everyone should pay their fair share no matter how rich or how poor.  Everyone needs to have skin in the game in order to make intelligent and fair decisions on election day that benefit all Americans.  After all, we blessed to live in the greatest, most free, most opportunity filled nation in the history of the world.  Taxing the rich (based on a totally arbitrary decision as to who is rich) at a higher rate is neither fair nor practical.  It is simply foolish.
Everyone should pay the same rate, rich or poor, not only because it is the most fair approach to taxation, but also because it benefits everyone.  It is risk takers who have capital who create jobs (all government jobs drag down the economy, leaching off of those who produce goods and services in the marketplace.)  More than 90%of all private sector jobs in the United States are with small companies.  High taxes on corporations, especially subchapter S corporations (closely held companies where all profit and loss is passed through to the stock holders and all taxes are paid by the stockholder), kill jobs.  It is these people that the “Buffet Tax” is targeting.  By raising taxes on the so-called rich, tax revenues will likely decline because small companies will need to be cautious and cut back, rather than expand.  In addition business failures will increase.  This will reduce tax revenues as even the President has acknowledged. 
The dirty little secret is that every company, big or small, walks along the edge of a financial cliff.  Every company is only a few bad decisions from going out of business.  Seven out of ten new business ventures fail and ultimately all companies will cease to exist—just ask Studebaker, W.T. Grant, Montgomery Ward, American Motors, and Sears.  As John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan proved, while higher corporate taxes kill jobs, lower taxes add jobs.  And the irony is that while Ronald Reagan dramatically reduced tax rates, tax revenues soared (as did contributions to charities).  The Reagan tax cuts not only created a more prosperous nation, where everyone benefited, but it also created a more compassionate nation.  Why then, with this indisputable evidence in hand, is our President hell-bent on raising taxes, especially on those who create jobs?  It shouldn’t be called the “Buffet Rule or the Buffett Tax” rather the “Buffon Tax.” 
If the President and his allies in Congress raise taxes and thus penalize those who risk their capital, work long hours, and offer innovations that improve life to start a company, they will kill the goose that laid the golden egg.  They will kill off new business startups and make it harder for established businesses to survive and grow.  High taxes are not only unfair; they are bad policy that hurts everyone in our economy.  
And while we are at it, if we want to be fair and even handed, let’s stop all government subsidies of individuals and corporations.  Subsidies of companies not only distort the free choices of individual citizens, they encourage corruption (such as Solyndra—“I give you support for your campaign and you arrange for the Department of Energy to give me half a billion dollars.”).  The less government intervention in the marketplace, the less corruption will occur. 
What liberals ignore is the fact that people are going up and down the economic ladder continuously.  Many of those at the lowest level are on their way to the top of the ladder and many at the top are headed down because they made bad choices.  I know a man who made more than $100 million dollars in real estate that gambled once too often and now lives very modestly in a small townhouse.  That’s what freedom is all about—the right to fail and to succeed, the freedom to make your own choices and to live by the consequences.
Obama’s policies aren’t based on fairness, they’re based on resentment, envy, and jealousy.  There’s nothing compassionate or caring about such policies, it’s only greed and bitterness that drive such policies.  And worse for the American people, they do not work.  All such socialist, pie-in-the-sky policies lead to misery for all, and they hurt the weakest members of our society the most.  That’s the history of socialism in the world.  It a perfect, 100% record of failure that is never going to change. 
Maybe the President’s gambit of ignoring the real problems that America faces—financial insolvency, massive unemployment, etc.—and focusing on phony issues like fairness will succeed.  Maybe his bet that the American people are too stupid to figure out that he is a failure will carry the day.  I doubt it.  I would not put any money on that bet in Vegas, would you?

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