October 23, 2008
Secret of Obama tax plan revealed?By William Tate
I have learned how Barack Obama plans to cut taxes for 95% of the public, even though only 60% of people pay income taxes. The explanation came from a young man calling from an Obama phone bank, one of millions of such calls being made these days.
Before we discussed the tax proposals, the college-age caller informed me that:
-Sarah Palin belongs to a church whose pastor believes in witchcraft, and that she is anti-Semitic.
-Obama will give me government-run health care and will pay for it, and all his other programs, by taxing the rich and corporations. When I pointed out that the wealthy already pay the majority of income taxes, and that corporations don't really pay taxes, that they -- for the most part -- simply pass those taxes on to consumers, he sounded confused, as though they were concepts he had never heard before.
-Under Obama's health plan I will be able to go to any doctor, including the most expensive specialists I can find, and the government will pay for it and all my other medical expenses, no matter how high the cost. Again, paid for by increased taxes only on the rich and corporations.
-After my questions about Obama's connection to ACORN, and the numerous investigations into widespread ACORN voter fraud, that John McCain was trying to prevent students from voting. His evidence? He had heard that nugget on one Air America talk show. He sincerely believed it to be the moral equivalent to the numerous investigations into ACORN voter fraud.
-McCain's economic policies would be devastating. When asked if he knew anything about McCain's proposals, he admitted he did not.
-Obama will hire people to drive down "high" unemployment, although he was unaware of where unemployment current stands (6.1% in September) or that it is low by historical standards.
-Obama will increase employment by giving tax breaks for corporations to bring jobs back to America. When I said my understanding was that the tax break would be $3,000 per job and asked how many people he thought would be willing to work for $3,000 a year, he said he would. He apparently had no concept of how little money that would be.
-The stock market will tank further if McCain is elected. When I pointed out that the stock market is a forward-looking mechanism, and that at least some of the market's recent fall has been the result of pricing in an expected Obama victory, he simply continued to maintain the market would fall if McCain is elected.
Finally, I asked the troubling question about how Obama will ensure a tax break for 95% of people--despite the fact that about 40% don't pay income taxes. He struggled with that one for a while. Again, it seemed to be a foreign concept to him, like no one had ever raised the subject before.
He stumbled through a series of answers. Obama would "give" the unemployed jobs so that they could pay taxes and get a tax break. When I reminded him that would only account for 6%, he--in a tribute to the American education system--said that Obama was really talking about the 55% difference between 95 and 40. I reminded him that Obama had specified 95%, not 55%. He replied that "Obama didn't really mean that." I asked if he, the caller, was really supporting a candidate who lied about something so important?
He told me to wait while he talked to his supervisor. I could overhear bits of a conversation in which he referred to me, rather politely, as "a difficult one." (At least he didn't call me THAT one.)
When he returned to the phone, he informed me that Obama would reach the 95% figure by initiating taxes on the 40% who don't pay income taxes now, so that he could later give them their promised tax break.
Out of the mouths of babes.
I don't know which is scarier: that the young man knew so little about the policies of the candidate for whom he had volunteered to work, that the young man's supervisor apparently knew little more, or that the talking heads say that young people like him could determine this election.
The Obama caller was polite and sincere ... and utterly clueless.
I thanked him for his sincerity and for a civil discourse on the subject. He thanked me for the same. Then we hung up.
And then he made his next call.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author.