Share & Connect
Tonight President Obama gave his third State of the Union speech and he had allowed drips and drabs of the speech to leak in advance, clueing the media in on the theme of the speech; economic fairness. At the speech’s opening, however, President Obama used a very different, yet very clever rhetorical device.
He opened with a reminder of the work necessary to track down and kill Osama bin Laden last year. By doing so, he not only reminded America that he managed this fiend on his watch, but also used the operation to illuminate the thrust of his speech. Everyone knows that in a military operation, soldiers must work together for the mission to succeed. If they don’t, the mission will fail, and someone is likely to be killed. As a debate tool, it was brilliant tactic.
He followed up with cleverly avoiding any mention of the phrases “fair share” and ”fair shot,” contrary to what he has in his campaign speeches for the last two months. This time he used the word “everyone” as a substitute. The concept of everyone doing this or that for a common cause is something people can agree with superficially, but that’s where the speech ultimately falls flat. The State of the Union (SOTU) was all surface, no substance. High rhetorical skill, but low on reality.
SOTU speeches by nature are always low on details. No matter who’s in office, the speeches are always too long and boring for most people. Yet, President Obama has shown a habit of making grand promises and pronouncements on one matter or another, only to let them never materialize, and blame the Republicans, though most often he cannot even get his own party to agree with him.
In order for anyone to agree with the basic thrust of his speech last night, you have to buy into the idea that America is an unfair place; that the rich were born that way, that they stay that way at your expense, and that the only way for your government to help you is to tax them. You have to buy into the concept that to lift up the people at the bottom, you first have to pull the ones at the top down. It is equal to saying the only way a football team can win is by deliberately trying to injure the members of the opposite team. Under the President’s notion of ‘a fair share,’ you take from one entity, and give what you took to someone else. This means, the companies that leave the country due to high corporate tax rates, excessive regulations, or to avoid unions, these are the ones you tax, and give the money to companies who say nothing about those three issues, companies who are in the President’s pet industries; like Sylandra.
When explained this way, most Americans will not buy into it. Here is a question to those who do: If only the rich are born rich, and stay rich, how did the Queen of Nice, Oprah Winfrey, go from dirt poor to a billionaire? How did Michael Dell go from broke college student to a multi-billionaire? How did Jorge Perez who arrived here with no money, and unable to speak the language, end up a billionaire? Questions like these destroy the phony idea that you don’t have a fair opportunity in this country. If America were the country that the President tries to portray, we would not know who any of those three people are. Everyone in America has a fair opportunity to succeed, but you’ll never have the same results. Not everyone will work as hard, open a business, save money, or invest. Any one of us could have given up the keg and frat house parties in college to build computers in our dorm room. We did not, so we don’t have what Mr. Dell has accomplished.
So the question is, if you do become affluent and rich, should you pay more in taxes? The answer is yes, and the rich already do. When Mitt Romney pays 15% on 23 million dollars that is higher than 30% of $100,000; the amount Warren Buffet’s often-mentioned secretary, presumably makes. Of course, the types of income are different. One is a salary and the other from long-term investments, hence, the percentage difference. But, what is the President’s focus, the bottom line dollar amount of three million paid by Romney, or the percentage?
Tonight the President proposed that at minimum, the capital gains rate should be 30%, but only for those above a 250,000 in earnings. He really doesn’t think that everyone should get a fair shake. No, if you are successful he wants to shake you down, using a vague morality play as a shield. Question: If everyone should “sacrifice” for the good of the country, then what about the 56 percent of people that do not pay any taxes at all? Where’s their skin in the game? Where’s the call to have them pay their fair share?
The problem in this country is not that the rich do not pay enough. The top five percent in wage earners pay 60 percent of the tax bill. Instead, the problem is that the government under President Obama wishes to continue spending more money and have the rich pay for it. In the SOTU speech alone, the President called for the creation of five new government entities. That’s five new departments on top of the over two million that we have now.
The problem is not that the rich pay 15% on investments made from money that has already been taxed at 34 or 39 percent, it’s the pure math that if you confiscated 100 percent of the income from the rich, it still would not pay for the Obamacare law, let alone Medicare, Social Security, or Medicaid.
In the history of this country, when you raise rates, tax revenues go down. It happens because people stop investing, or invests in tax-free muni bonds. They stop expanding their business. They simply do what all humans do, which is find ways to avoid paying more for something, no different from anyone going to one gas station over another, because one has lower priced gas.
The SOTU speech is the first salvo in a class war that may tear the United States apart, and one that may lead to its collapse, IF the President wins that war. In the end, considering that the poor never created a job, and the middle-class is employed and maintained by rich people, hurting them, by taking money out of their pocket, only hurts the people the President purports to be fighting to help.