Politics of Division
by Sam Hanna, Jr. - posted Thursday, July 12th, 2012 @ 12:00 pm
If you've been paying attention to presidential politics lately, you may have noticed that President Obama has renewed his efforts to divide the country along socio-economic lines.
There is no better way to describe it in light of Obama's renewed call for the Congress to put an end to the Bush-era tax rates for the top 2 percent of wage earners in America. Bluntly put, Obama wants the Congress to maintain the existing income tax rates for anyone who makes less than $250,000 annually while raising income taxes for everybody else. The president also desires to see an increase in capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes.
The income tax hike talk is front center for a number of reasons.
No. 1, we're being entertained by it because Obama is running for re-election. Obviously he feels that his best course of action to secure a second term centers on framing the debate on the so-called haves versus the so-called have-nots. Class warfare, if you will.
The second reason why we're discussing a possible hike in income taxes is because the tax cuts the Congress approved in 2001 and 2003 are scheduled to expire Jan. 1. If the Congress allows it, the income tax rates that were in force when Bill Clinton was president will return full bore.
Thirdly, Obama shifted the public's attention to the income tax topic because he does not want to engage the Republicans in a discussion about the Affordable Care Act. As you will recall, the Supreme Court ruled two weeks ago that the act was constitutional. In reasoning why the act passed constitutional muster, the Court held that the Congress had the authority to force individuals to buy health insurance by imposing taxes. Remember, Obama argued for three years that the act relied on fines to compel individuals to buy health insurance, not taxes. The Supreme Court called him on it for what it was – a bald-faced lie.
Much to the consternation of Obama, the Affordable Care Act represents a massive tax increase, and it won't be paid by the so-called wealthy. No, the bulk of the new taxes will be paid by the middle class.
And that is the primary reason why Obama is running from his signature legislative achievement.
As you might expect, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney opposes raising taxes in any fashion. Accordingly, Obama and his allies in the media would have us believe that Romney and his ilk in the Republican Party are more interested in coddling the so-called wealthy than helping lower- and middle-income Americans recover from the worst economic downtown turn since the Great Depression. Obama also claims Romney's opposition to raising taxes on the so-called wealthy means he's opposed to getting America's fiscal house in order.
There's a flaw in Obama's thinking on the latter, but you'll never hear him admit it. No, he'll never acknowledge that raising income tax rates to the Clintonesque levels for the top 2 percent of wage earners would accomplish squat if balancing the federal budget was one of the president's goals. After all, bringing back the Clinton tax rates for the so-called wealthy would gin up some $85 billion annually for the U.S. Treasury, or some $850 billion over 10 years.
That's pocket change.
This year alone, the federal government will post a more than $1 trillion deficit. Some say $1.3 trillion. Others say $1.5 trillion. Regardless of which figure is correct, the bottom line is the federal government spends far more money than it collects in taxes.
It's not a new phenomenon. It simply has gotten worse of late. Deficit spending on top of deficit spending is what we've witnessed for years, and the national debt has climbed right along with it.
When President George W. Bush left office in January 2009, the national debt stood at some $10 trillion. It's approaching $16 trillion today.
Yet, Obama argues that raising taxes on the so-called wealthy is the fair and equitable thing to do. That's right. A tax increase for the rich in the midst of a recession is in order, according to the president.
Or could it be that Obama is simply engaging in the politics of acrimony, division and hate?
Sam Hanna, Jr. is publisher of The Ouachita Citizen, and he serves in an editorial/management capacity with The Concordia Sentinel and The Franklin Sun, three newspapers owned and operated by the Hanna family. Hanna can be reached by calling (318) 805-8158 or by emailing him at email@example.com.