Saturday, September 20, 2008

Obama's Economics

Barack Obama's (non-) response to the economic turmoil over the last week has been well-covered in the mainstream press (see, for example,"Obama, McCain Duel for Economic Credibility," and "McCain and Obama Different on Style as Well as Substance").

Barack Hoover Hussein Obama

Yet, in the near-term, the current crisis in financial markets is being managed not by the White House directly but by the Federal Reserve Board and the Treasury Department. Indeed, Ben Bernanke and Henry Paulson are economic rock stars right now:

The immediate verdict [of this week's bailout], at least judging by the reaction on Wall Street, was that Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and his cohorts had delivered a masterstroke. The Dow Jones industrial average surged 368.75 points, adding to the 410-point gain it notched Thursday as news of the government plan leaked out.
Still, come January, the major direction of fiscal and regulatory policy will be set by the president's budget and bureaucratic discretion, and a Barack Obama administration would not rest with the current Fed/Treasury rescue efforts. A new "Great Society" may be on the agenda - or a "new, New Deal," if some leftists get their way - should a redistributionist Democratic administration take office.

Austin Hill lays out more on Barack Obama's economics:

For the entire nineteen months of his presidential campaign, Barack Obama has been crossing the country, fanning the flames of resentment towards people who are perceived to be financially successful. He has continuously criticized what he call’s the “Bush tax cuts for the rich,” implying that the Bush administration cut taxes for wealthier Americans, while leaving tax rates the same, or even raising them, for less wealthy income earners (this, of course, is not true, but Obama has made it clear that “the rich” don’t ever “deserve” to have their tax rates cut).

Obama has also proposed a “federal crack down” on what he deems “excessive pay” for corporate executives - a great way to garner the support of blue collar and mid-level workers, who believe it is unfair that the President of the company earns “so much more” than the mail room clerk who “works so hard.” He has pledged to tax the “excessive profits” of American oil companies, and return that money to “hard working Americans” in the form of some sort of rebate check. And he has repeatedly lectured about his plan to bring America to “economic justice,” never actually defining what that means, yet clearly implying that the current state of things is inherently unjust, and in need of his repair work.

Much of Obama’s economic rhetoric has been delivered in front of friendly audiences. Yet, in a recent one-on-one interview at the Fox Newschannel, Bill O’Reilly pointed out that the Senator’s proposals amounted to “income redistribution - a basic tenant of socialism.” In response, Obama offered a “gosh Bill, I don’t like paying higher taxes either but you and I can afford it” kind of response, and then sought to change the subject.

But after nineteen months of economic anecdotes wrapped-up in eloquent speeches and passionate oratory, combined with constant reminders from the candidate’s surrogates that Barack is just as American as all the rest of us, Obama’s running mate has now spelled out the real essence of the Democrats’ economic plan in simplistic terms that anybody can understand: “We want to take money and put it in the pockets of the middle class people...”

No reference to whose money it is in the first place, or how wealth is created, or the human toil and sacrifice and anxiety and risk entailed in the creation of the wealth. Obama and Biden simply intend to “take money,” and “put it in the pockets” of people they believe are deserving of it. It IS income redistribution - end of story.
This, of course, is why Obama's got such credibility in among left-wing proponents of a revived regulatory economic system. As we saw this weekend, Obama's vice-presidential nominee thinks it's "patriotic" to raise taxes on the rich.

Barack Hoover Hussein Obama's done absolutely nothing to help Americans out of the current economic crisis (see, "
Obama Holds Back Specifics of Crisis Plan"), but should he take office, an Obama administration will tax people making more than $250,000 a year, and after that income cut-offs will keep falling through a number of accounting gimmicks and "revised" budget estimates.

Cartoon Credit: Michael Ramirez