The United States Can't Afford Four More Years of President Obama

Occupy Wall Street has taken center stage for the Democratic Party and their enthusiasts.  The ragtag mob of malcontents is getting support from unions and the likes of billionaire hedge fund guru George Soros, both connected with the Democratic Party.  As the occupiers attract more media coverage, they become more belligerent.  Rather than running for cover as things run amok, former Obama administration official and Democratic Party candidate for the U.S. Senate from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren claimed credit for the "intellectual foundation" of the movement. 

Frontline big-city mayors are growing weary of the unruly throngs because of the problems they have created for their citizens and visitors.  In Oakland; Atlanta; and Providence, Rhode Island, city officials are taking steps to shut down OWS operations and return their cities to normal.  Simultaneously, in an obvious attempt to win over young people before the 2012 election, President Obama told Jay Leno on The Tonight Show that "people are frustrated," and then he offered to forgive student loans and more.

OWS activists tend to be young, naïve, and foolish, and they have no agenda.  The protesters are against things like corporate greed and income inequality, and they are for fairness and taking from the rich and giving to the poor.  Few if any of them have a grip on the facts.  For instance, in 2008,

  • the top 1% of earners in the United States paid 38% of federal income taxes;
  • the top 5% of earners paid 59% of federal income taxes;
  • the top 10% of earners paid 70% of federal income taxes;
  • the top 25% of earners paid more than 86% of federal income taxes;
  • the top 50% of earners paid more than 97% of federal income taxes;
  • and the bottom 50% of earners in the United States paid less than 3% of federal income taxes.

In 2009, the top 10 percent of earners in the United States paid about 73 percent of federal income taxes, and about 47 percent of our fellow citizens paid no federal income taxes.  In 2009, the bottom 40 percent of earners actually made a profit on tax day because they got more money back from the federal government than they paid in.

According to the U.S. Census, the income inequality that OWS detests and that we hear about so much in the news doesn't exist, but again, facts don't matter.  This is an orchestrated attempt by Democrats to win back the party faithful before the 2012 election, and it's working. 

President Obama is determined to make fairness the primary issue in the 2012 election.  He's right about fairness, but he's wrong when he points his finger at the rich.  As the statistics above suggest, our problem isn't that the rich pay too little tax or that income inequality is getting worse.  Our problem is that we spend too much money at the federal level of government on giveaway programs that produce citizens who are dependent on government for their well-being -- people like those in the OWS crowd, and approximately half of our citizens who pay no federal income tax.  There is nothing fair about that.

Soon, people who pay no taxes and receive the lion's share of the benefits will be the majority in this country, and you can expect them to vote in their own self-interest.  They will support candidates like Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid who promise to continue funding programs that funnel money to them and to tax the rich to pay the bills.  In the process, they will destroy this nation.  They're doing it now.  Our deficit and debt problems make that perfectly clear.  We may have reached the point of no return, and if Barack Obama is re-elected, the end of the United States as we know it may be in sight.   

The utopian Marxist/socialist society that President Obama and OWS activists clamor for has never existed, and it never will.  Everywhere Marxism/socialism has been tried, it has failed.  The reason is simple.  In a nutshell, people living under Marxist/socialist regimes gravitate toward doing as little as they possibly can to get the meager benefits to which they are entitled.  It happened in the Soviet Union and in China.  The Soviet Union collapsed under the pressure of Marxism/socialism and is now history.  Realizing that their political system was in jeopardy, leaders in China made a radical shift toward capitalism to avoid the same fate.  Right now, countries throughout Europe are imploding under the crushing weight of Marxism/socialism and will fail just like the Soviet Union did if they don't change their ways.  Greece gets most of the attention, but Italy, Spain, and Ireland, to name just a few, are not far behind.

Could the same thing happen in the United States?  You bet it could.  That's one important reason why I believe the 2012 presidential election is the most important election in our nation's history.  If we don't change course now, we may seal our nation's fate and go the way of the Soviet Union.  It boils down to this.  You can't tax wealth-creators into oblivion and transfer their assets to the poor without disincentivizing the doers among us who are also the job-creators.  That's what's happening under the Obama administration, and that's why our unemployment rate is stuck at an unacceptably high level. 

Before his death, Apple founder Steve Jobs put his finger on the problem.  President Obama is anti-business.  On top of that, he's an inspiration to the freeloaders among us, many of whom are OWS activists.  We need a president who inspires the doers, the wealth and job creators.  Barack Obama is not that person.

As Democratic politicians led by President Obama pump up their rhetoric about "fairness" and play the class warfare game to curry favor with disaffected groups and malcontents, keep these things in mind.  Our current trajectory leads to insolvency.  We engage in wild-eyed deficit spending and pretend that there are no consequences, we have piled up almost $15 trillion of debt, and we are forecasting huge deficits as far as the eye can see.  Things can't continue as they are.  Our creditors will make sure that they don't if we fail to take action ourselves. 

President Obama has proven beyond any shadow of a doubt that he can't or won't set aside his predilections and focus his attention on economic reality.  That's one important reason why the United States can't afford four more years of his presidency.

Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog,, is posted daily.  His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You're Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You're Not an Idiot.

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