September 3, 2012
The Rich versus Everybody Else in Obama's AmericaBy Karin McQuillan
At last week's Republican Convention, Chris Christie, as keynote speaker at the Republican convention, proclaimed that voters are ready to hear the truth about needing to shrink government and stop politicians spending money we don't have. One admirable Republican governor after another stood up and told how in only a few years they were able to transform their bankrupt states. By taking on the Democrat special interests and cutting government spending, they balanced the budget, reduced taxes, and grew jobs.
Mitt Romney's policy will do the same for America, they proclaimed. Free Americans from the suffocating hand of government, so they can realize their dreams and make America prosper again.
Democrats are not listening. And why should they? The core Democrat constituencies are either so rich it doesn't matter to them, or else they don't pay taxes, they don't work, or they work for the government. The rest are there because they get their news from late-night TV comics and the New York Times, and they think Republicans are evil morons after their birth control. You couldn't make it up.
Christie says voters will respect the truth, and that respect will lead to love. Obama has a different approach. He tells Democrat voters that only rich people's greed and tax avoidance stands in the way of solvent government programs, including an unchanged Social Security and Medicaid. He invites them to resent Romney as a rich guy, instead of facing up to unsettling reform and small cut-backs in the handouts.
Who will be right on Election Day, Christie or Obama? The experts are telling us that it is neck-to-neck.
The sad truth is that Obama's false and mean-spirited attacks work well among all segments of Democrat voters. The thirty-five percent of our population who receive cash, food stamps, medical care, and housing from the government like to hear that the rich are selfish and owe them more support. They want the government largess to grow, no matter how our economy falters under the burden.
Our minorities who receive preferential treatment in jobs and education are happy to think the system is still unfair fifty years after the Civil Rights movement, and that they deserve more privileges and more money.
Single women, a major Democrat voting bloc, like the anti-rich message for several reasons. They are more likely to be poor and use government aid. Idealistic young women enjoy feeling kind -- how enjoyable it is to feel virtuous by being generous with other people's money.
Our government used to take tax money from all citizens but the destitute and spend it on national necessities, such as defense, basic research, education, and those roads and bridges we all need for a functioning economy. Taxes were seen as justified and fair because they went to common goods.
No more. Now, according to the New York Times, in 2010, the government spent 66 cents out of every dollar on direct benefits to individuals and families. This is what redistribution means. According to the CBO, in 2009, the top 10% of wage-earners (families with income above $112K) paid 70% of the taxes, most of which the government gives to other people's families. Obama calls America's top earners unfair and greedy -- he thinks they should pay more.
The weight of "takers" over "makers" has degraded our economic functioning. The money isn't there in the entire economy to give huge segments of the population free cash, food, housing, and medical care. The Democrat Congress has already cut defense and national security spending to dangerously low levels, and there is still not enough to float the growing entitlements, the Democrat nice-to-haves like NPR, and free contraception, not to mention the expensive payoffs to Democrat cronies.
What's killing the country is that even with deficit spending at record levels, the Democrats are not prioritizing tax money to pay for national defense, research, or even decent bridges, all crucial necessities for our national prosperity and safety. We are eating our seed corn.
The Democrat spending spree has created a tax burden that is impossible to pay. There aren't enough taxpayers left in the whole country to pay for all the things we need as a nation plus support half the nation's families. Obama would have to take 100% taxes from everyone earning more than $60,000 to maintain his spending levels.
All the taxpayers in America earn only $5.6 trillion of taxable income in total. Obama has been spending $4 trillion a year and wants spending to grow. We have a $14.6-trillion debt. We have a lowball estimate of $25 trillion in unfunded Social Security obligations for those now in the system. In addition to printing money and borrowing from China, we've "borrowed" $8 trillion of Social Security money we don't have. Under Obama's new norm, the government is spending more than 100% of everybody's income in the country.
"The Rich" are not Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. The money is not there. People really do have to support themselves. It's reality.
But this is an inconvenient and unwelcome reality to the Democrats, whose entire political raison d'être has become handing out the goodies.
Romney is someone who creates prosperity. He will shrink the government and grow our economy, and we will be able to afford a realistic social safety net. Obama is someone who destroys prosperity in the name of fairness and imagines that there will still be trillions to spend.
The members of every one of the Democrat constituencies feel comfortable -- even more, entitled -- to have the government take the income that other people earned for their own families and use it themselves. Democrats reverse the moral equation. It is taking with moral righteousness. In a more perfect universe, people receiving government help might respect and try to learn from the hardworking, successful men and women whose tax dollars put food on their tables, set up a roof over their heads, and provide free doctors for their health needs. That's not how Democrats think.
In Obama's new America, it is the successful people who are the selfish, greedy ones. It is those who worked extra-hard, made sacrifices, took risks, and raised their families' standard of living to high levels -- creating jobs and prosperity for others along the way -- who owe other people something. Families who earn more than $112,000 pay 70% of federal taxes, but they're condemned as greedy and unfair by people who can't be bothered with numbers.
Obama wants to make Mitt Romney the poster boy of the selfish rich. Mitt Romney's successes are not well-known. His campaign should make sure voters know whom to thank for Staples, Sports Authority, Domino's Pizza, Pizza Hut, Steel Dynamics, Brookstone, AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Dunkin' Donuts, Sealy, Toys "R" Us, Warner Music Group, Totes, and The Weather Channel. One of Romney's first investments was in a single store called Staples. He helped them expand from one to over 2,000 stores and 89,000 employees in 2011. There should be no argument that Romney's personal ambition and success were good things for tens of thousands of working, and tax-paying, families.
No matter. According to Gallup, only half of Democrats think that people like Romney benefit the economy. Look at Romney. He looks rich. He's not one of us. He's no different from a felon! He doesn't talk like us, he's too polite, don't trust him.
America has come to a historic moment in which we will proclaim our identity. At the Republican Convention, speaker after speaker witnessed the American Dream realized in his or her own family -- by immigrant grandfathers or parents, or by personal sacrifice and hard work. Mitt and Ann Romney embody that American success story. So do Susana Martinez, Mia Love, Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, John Kasich, Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Bob McDonnell, and Artur Davis.
The American Dream is how poor people raise up their families and become middle-class -- and, yes, stinking rich. In our country, following your own ambition and gifts and hard work leads to levels of wealth for ordinary people unknown in world history. Each person's success enables the success of others, and so we prosper as a nation. It's a beautiful thing.
We have traditionally applauded the success of others and emulated it, rather than envied it. That is not President Obama's way. It is not his family story. His leftist mother created a dream out his absent Kenyan father's Marxism and anti-colonial rage, a destructive dream that Obama embraced as his life cause. The American Dream is not his personal career path or his dream for our country. Obama was taught to blame, envy, resent, and punish success, and he is trying to pass those lessons on to his constituents. He does not see that, rich, poor, and middle-class, we all share the same dream, the same values, and we all benefit from America's formula for success.
Is Obama's class warfare indeed what Democrats want? Are they really willing to be conned that the party can go on indefinitely, and someone else will pay? Will today's progressive Democratic Party reject our unique and uniquely wonderful American path? Which vision of America will America choose?
Has the American Dream changed that much? We will decide in November.
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