April 17, 2008

From last night's debate

The lefty blogosphere is all nuts that ABC's Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulis actually asked tough questions of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama last night. I caught parts of the debate, and a couple Obama answers made me realize that this was indeed Obama's weakest effort in the campaign thus far.

First, take the issue of payroll tax increases:

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes.

And one of the centerpieces of my economic plan would be to say that we are going to offset the payroll tax, the most regressive of our taxes, so that families who are earning -- who are middle-income individuals making $75,000 a year or less, that they would get a tax break so that families would see up to a thousand dollars worth of relief.

MR. GIBSON: Senator Obama, you both have now just taken this pledge on people under $250,000 and 200-and-what, 250,000.

SENATOR OBAMA: Well, it depends on how you calculate it. But it would be between 200 and 250,000.

As you may note, Gibson asked this Obama question to Hillary first, hence his "you both have now just taken this pledge..." Yet, how does Obama reconcile his comment about those making less than $75K with the stated $200-250K? That, and Obama wasn't clear on whether he meant individuals or families. He clearly said that those making less than $75K (individuals or families?) would get a tax break. So... do those making more get a tax ....increase? Or ... just nothing?

Secondly, check out this bit of cognitive dissonance on capital gains:

GIBSON: You (Obama) have however said you would favor 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 percent."

It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.


MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.


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.

Get it? Obama -- at the same time! -- wants to ensure "fairness" all the while making sure we have enough cash to finance healthcare and education ... but that "fairness" he desires will result in a DECREASE in the needed revenue by which to FUND his healthcare and education proposals!

UPDATE: Larry Kudlow adds:

Here's the deal: During the debate, Obama bungled his answers on tax policy, big time. Period. End of sentence. End of story. To my liberal friends in the media, all I can say is: Get over it. Your guy has a very poor grasp of basic economic principles.

First off, you don't raise taxes during a recession. That's a no-brainer. Second, doubling the capital-gains tax rate will affect Americans up and down the income ladder, not just rich hedge-fund managers. In addition, capital-gains tax cuts are self-financing, and they stimulate jobs and the economy. You want to raise budget revenues and spark economic growth? Cut the cap-gains tax rate. That's what history shows.

Obama's real agenda is far-liberal left. It's an ideology that places income redistribution above economic growth. That's his real message. And it's the same one that sunk Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. Bill Clinton? He was a growth Democrat. So he won twice. But Obama is aligning himself with the Democratic losers. And that will make him a loser as well.

Posted by Hube at April 17, 2008 04:57 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

excellent connect the dots Hube. Keep up the solid critical thinking

Posted by: cardinals fan at April 17, 2008 09:51 PM

This last comment reveals Obama's true goals of wealth redistribution. He doesn't care that the government would make less money if they raised the tax, he just wants to try to tax the wealthy more. Also, someone should tell him that other people besides hedge fund managers invest in the stock market. Unlike hedge fund mangers,I would think your ordinary investor is less able to adapt to switch investment strategies to combat a tax increase.

Posted by: Jon at April 17, 2008 10:47 PM

But...but...Obama's just playing at Robin Hood! No wait, Robin Hood was robbing from the tax collectors and giving the money back to the people. I hate it when lefties screw that into wealth distribution.

Posted by: G Rex at April 18, 2008 11:17 AM

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