Obama demands that taxes be raised on the top 2% of wage earners in the country, but it wasn’t so long ago when the evil wealthy were only 1%.
For Obama 2012, it’s all about the 99 percent
President Barack Obama threw red meat to his political base on Tuesday with a promise to do the nearly impossible: solve the problem of widening U.S. income inequality.
Faced with the very real possibility of losing the White House in November, Obama used his State of the Union address to demand a tax increase for millionaires and launch an aggressive campaign arc built upon economic fairness.
“No debate is more important,” Obama said early in his hour-long speech before a joint session of Congress.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”
In recent months, Obama had made clear he would mine the vein of resentment in America over the growing income gap, the source of inspiration for last year’s Occupy Wall Street movement that highlighted the concentration of wealth among 1 percent of the population.
But by choosing to make it the cornerstone of his annual speech to the nation, he cemented the theme of working for the 99 percent as his campaign battlecry for the next 10 months.
Doyle McManus: Obama sides with the 99%
The political strategy behind this approach was transparent. Obama was seeking both to reassure his dispirited Democratic base and to enlarge it by appealing to everyone who agrees with the Occupy Wall Street movement that the current economy is inequitable. This isn’t a fringe sentiment. Polls show that about two-thirds of Americans think the distribution of wealth is unfair, including a big majority of independents as well as Democrats.
That’s why so much of the speech was given to characterizing (and occasionally exaggerating) Republican positions as favoring the 1% over the 99%. “Their philosophy is simple: We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves and play by their own rules,” Obama charged.
But the strategy could have pitfalls.
“I think they’re taking Occupy Wall Street a little too literally,” said William A. Galston, who served as President Clinton’s chief domestic policy adviser.”The American middle class is much more interested in its own circumstances than in how the wealthy are doing. The reason people are concerned is not because the 1% are doing so well; it’s because the middle class is doing so badly — and it’s not clear that socking it to the 1% will solve that problem.”
Justin Elliott: Obama White House parrots “99 percent” line
It appears that the White House is adopting what is probably the most powerful slogan of Occupy Wall Street: “We are the 99%.”
That reference to the growing gap in income and wealth between the super-rich and the rest of us was invoked by a top administration spokesman during a press briefing Sunday about President Obama’s bus trip to Virginia and North Carolina. Politico reports:
[Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh] Earnest told scribes to stay tuned, adding that it was possible Obama would talk about the movement specifically but that he would acknowledge the “frustrations” of middle and working-class people who feel the rich haven’t paid their fair share – or been penalized for the excesses that led to the financial crisis.
The president, he said, will make sure “the interests of the 99 percent of Americans are well-represented on the tour,” the first reference I can find in which an Obama staffer specifically repeated the mantra.
Here’s Press Secretary Jay Carney being quizzed on the same issue during a press gaggle aboard Air Force One this morning:
Q How explicitly do you expect the President to embrace or echo some of the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street protest? We heard Josh yesterday actually use the phrase, “the 99 percent of Americans.” Might we expect to see the President move in that direction?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I want you to listen carefully to what the President does say, so I won’t preview his remarks in any detail. But I think we have expressed, and the President has expressed, an understanding of the frustration that the demonstrations manifest and represent. There is a link between two things: One, the frustrations that regular folks — middle-class Americans feel about the state of the economy, the need for growth to improve, and certainly the need for job creation to improve. And there is a related frustration that a lot of Americans feel about the idea that Wall Street in the past played by different rules than Main Street*, and now we have a situation where — and yet was, for good reasons, was assisted by the federal government to prevent the financial sector from collapsing.
Following on that, there is frustration now I believe with the efforts by some to roll back the protections the President fought so hard to put into place through the Wall Street reform act that was passed and signed into law. It is — I don’t have to imply or insinuate that it is the objective of the Republicans, including contenders for president, to roll back those reforms because they say so themselves. And it’s just inconceivable to us that an economic plan for the future would contain within it the elimination of reforms that would prevent the kind of financial protector collapse that we saw that created the greatest recession since the Great Depression. Just doesn’t make sense to us. Doesn’t make sense to the President.
Brett Decker: Obama’s mythical 99%
A brand new Cadillac Escalade hybrid rolled down the posh streets of Old Town Alexandria, Va., on Friday morning. On the tailgate of this $78,000 luxury SUV was an Obama campaign bumper sticker carrying a simple message: “99%.” These limousine liberals just don’t get it.
The 99 percent slogan rips off rhetoric from the Occupy movement, the confused collection of left-wing misfits and unemployed college graduates that has soiled public parks across America. According to this minority of malcontents, they represent the vast majority who are not served by The Establishment, whether that be banks, corporations, the school system, the military-industrial complex or whatever institution the paranoid mind perceives to be part of some ruling-class conspiracy to keep the masses down. These people aren’t losers, you see, they are the heroic but oppressed 99 percent. The remaining 1 percent are the privileged overlords. Somehow, President Obama, who is teeing up to play his 100th golf game since taking office three years ago, is worshipped by the liberal rabble as the savior of the little guy.
Somewhere along the way, things changed. Now the top 2% are evil.
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans’ opposition to any tax rate hike on the top two percent of earners shows few signs of letting up as the debate wears on. But the beneficiaries of that opposition, the nation’s wealthiest executives, have themselves begun opening up to the possibility of a rate hike.
The Democratic position on taxes creates rhetorical and political challenges. Obama is defending middle-class breaks while trying to limit the same benefits for high-income taxpayers. Democrats are calling for tax increases while unemployment exceeds 8 percent.
The party also has to explain how it can achieve its fiscal goals by requiring only 2 percent of taxpayers to pay more when everyone else earns more than three-quarters of U.S. income.
“Speaking as a proud member of the upper-middle class, you’ve got to increase taxes on the upper-middle class if you want to make a real dent on the tax side on the deficit,” Zelenak said.
Speaking Monday from the White House Rose Garden, Obama called for what was in effect a massive tax hike on the nation’s job and business creators — a political act of desperation that could lead to another recession and soaring unemployment.
Under Obama’s plan, the top 2% of earners — for families, that’s anyone earning $250,000 or more annually — would be hit with punitive hikes in taxes, all in the interest of “fairness.” This makes no sense whatsoever — either from the standpoint of fiscal responsibility or even Obama’s own past statements on taxes.
As we’ve noted repeatedly, increasing taxes on the top 2% will bring in maybe $80 billion per year against a deficit of $1250 billion per year yet liberals buy into this Obama math- that $80 billion is the same as $1250 billion.
Note to liberals: It’s not the same.
How long before it’s 5%? 10%?
Now for some facts
Top 1% Paid More in Federal Income Taxes Than Bottom 95% in ’07
And yes, Barack Obama is ALL about redistribution
For fun, the next time some liberal claims the “rich” need to pay their fair share, ask them what “fair share” means.
Then sit back and enjoy the deer eyes.
For the record, taxes are already going up apart from this discussion.
Have you heard about Obamacare?