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January 27, 2012

Krauthammer: Obama's War on Wealth

When Mom herself tells you an article's good, it has to be linked.

Tax reform and entitlement reform are the really big ideas. The first produces social equity plus economic efficiency; the second produces social equity plus debt reduction. And yet these are precisely what Obama has for three years steadfastly refused to address. He prefers the easy demagoguery of “tax the rich.”

After all, what’s he got? Can’t run on his record. Barely even mentioned Obamacare or the stimulus, his major legislative achievements, on Tuesday night. Too unpopular. His platform is fairness, wrapped around a plethora of little things, one mini-industrial policy after another — the conceit nicely encapsulated by his proclamation that “I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or to Germany.” As if he can command these industries into existence. As if Washington funding a thousand Solyndras will make solar economically viable.

Soviet central planners mandated quotas for steel production, regardless of demand. Obama’s industrial policy is a bit more subtle. Tax breaks for manufacturing — but double tax breaks for high-tech manufacturing, which for some reason is considered more virtuous, despite the fact that high tech is less likely to create blue-collar jobs. Its main job creation will be for legions of lawyers and linguists testifying before some new adjudicating bureaucracy that the Acme Umbrella Factory meets their exquisitely drawn criteria for “high tech.”

What Obama offered the nation Tuesday night was a pudding without a theme: a jumble of disconnected initiatives, a gaggle of intrusive new agencies and a whole new generation of loopholes to further corrupt a tax code that screams out for reform.

If the Republicans can’t beat that in November, they should try another line of work.

Good article.

I wish people would focus more on Obama's odd conception of the role of government in the economy.

He only cares about the "dividing up the wealth" agenda.

He's not at all interested in how that wealth actually gets created. Or in fashioning policies that encourage the creation of wealth.

In fact, as Krauthammer notes, when asked in the 2008 campaign if he would raise capital gains tax rates even knowing that would 1) retard growth and 2) produce lower government revenues, he said, yes, certainly he still would raise them, because raising the tax rate was a good in and of itself.

It's fairerer or something.

If America's big problem was that we had a huge, huge pile of excess money and needed some pissant bien pensant to think of exciting new ways to spend it-- well, in that situation, certainly Obama would be a candidate worthy of serious consideration.

But that doesn't seem to be our problem. Quite the opposite. The problem seems to be that we don't have much excess money we're looking to waste. The problem seems rather that we have not nearly enough excess money. In fact, we're at negative 16.4 trillion dollars in the Big Pile of Excess Money Needing Spending column.

And Obama's plan? Let's argue over divvying up the profits even though we don't have any profits and in fact are 16.4 trillion in the hole.


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posted by Ace at 12:31 PM

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