"The central issue in American politics now is whether the country should reverse a three-decade long trend of rising inequality in incomes and wealth."And
"Do they believe that a fairer distribution of capitalism’s bounty is essential to repairing a sick economy? Everything else is a subsidiary issue."
At first, I thought his premise became hard to follow as he gets off topic immediately after this. But, as it turns out, this is primarily another hit piece on the Bush administration. Sort of making a subsidiary issue of the issue.
So let's skewer it a little. After setting up the discussion about wealth redistribution, he says:
"Some critics on the right have tried to change the subject by criticizing Obama for refusing to play the role of “a war president.”
He jumps from the redistribution issue to comparing so-called "war presidents", and claims that right wingers came up with this as a distraction from economic issues.
I have yet to hear of anyone demanding the President Obama be a "war president". If anything, he has been advised that it would be much better to actually win this war as opposed to the Party edict that has been offered, may I quote Sen. Harry Reid, "This war is lost". It should be noted at this point that the War in Iraq has already been won. Now is the time for a measured curtailment.
The comparison of Obama to Eisenhower is another distraction and a chance to refer to Bush as a war president (which, of course, is a horrible thing to radical leftists).
Then he claims that wealth inequity is related to what he calls "budget gimmicks" employed by Bush administration. More Bush bashing. I would think that President Obama has been bashing the previous administration enough for the entire party, as he does this daily. But they all like it too much to resist and we are in the "if it feels good, do it" generation.
These "gimmicks" he refers to are the appropriation of funds "off budget", such as the Iraq War funding. President Bush requested funding for the war in addition to the regular budget. What this has to do with wealth redistribution is unclear.
Subsidiary issue: Mr. Dionne omits the fact the Mr. Obama is doing the exact same thing and he is using gimmicks even more than Mr. Bush. The Obama administration has put the $787 Billion stimulus package, $350 Billion TARP part II, and is suggesting another another TARP, all in addition to his regular budget ($409 Billion) in less than 5 weeks in office.
Dionne says that the rich got richer and the poor became poorer because of the off budget practice. Mr. Dionne cites Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director for his wealth stats so it must be true. Uh huh.
He also says...
"Obama is being decidedly cautious about foreign policy."Really? I don't see the caution part. Mr. Obama has been far more open than I would recommend. The statements that he will negotiate with Iran, Syria and Hamas are not cautious. It's stupid. He also says that Obama is not moving out of Iraq too quickly, not to ensure a stable Iraq, but to keep Iraq from becoming a distraction to his redistribution plans. We wouldn't want that, would we? But then, would that make him a war president?
This next Bush bash is interesting...
"He projects the budget outlook 10 years down the road, getting away from the Bush administration’s habit of cutting off our line of vision at five years."Bush's habit? Uh hello, Mr. Dionne. You are touted as being somewhat intelligent. Is it possible that you do not know that the 5 year projection methodology has been used for many years before President Bush used it? Are you implying that the 5 year projection is inadequate? Then please explain why President Clinton used it?
Another questionable remark:
"Obama’s opponents need to admit that increasing government’s share of the economy by less than two percentage points is hardly a form of wild-eyed state socialism."We do, Mr. Dionne?
The percentage of GDP spent by government is much less important than what it is spent on and how much debt it adds. Government's take over health care and education, nationalizing banks, insurance companies and car makers, and grabbing people's money to finance studies used to influence Americans on how we conduct our lives (e.g., climate change) is eminently socialist. Providing the means for the unemployed to stay unemployed and for the poor to comfortably stay poor is the very root of socialism.
"Obama has taken another issue off the table by promising tax cuts that begin to kick in for families earning less than about $200,000 per year."
"He is doing so partly to offset the indirect tax on carbon he is proposing."
I disagree. President Obama has not taken the tax issue off the table. He would create yet another tax with cap and trade (another unnecessary expense). It is one more hit on business and the economy. Does Mr. Dionne, or Mr. Obama for that matter, know anything about the market or capitalism. It's looking more and more like they don't.
So, does Mr. Dionne ever get around to wealth redistribution? Yep.
Here's the complaint:
“Over the past two or three decades, the top 1 percent of Americans have experienced a dramatic increase from 10 percent to more than 20 percent in the share of national income that’s accruing to them,” said Peter Orszag, Obama’s budget director.Two things. One, Those at the top would not have earned so much without the help of congress creating an uneven playing field, and two, those at the bottom have little incentive to earn more.
That is not wealth redistribution. That is government punishing achievement and encouraging mediocrity to those they deem to be deserving. Under this plan, the majority party in congress and the president make a money grab to spend on bigger government, more power for themselves and more money to spread to their supporters, ensuring their grip on government.
If President Obama could make a decision without the influence of his handlers, and assuming he knew anything about the economic system that enabled the USA to become the great world power and last bastion of freedom, he would:
1. Recall the self-serving "stimulus package".
2. Stop handing over our grandchildren's earnings to Wall Street, ya fool.
3. Allow the bad players to go away. The assets are still there and some enterprising company will take care of it for us.
4. Slash taxes on the job creators instead of threatening to raise them.
5. Slash corporate taxes. The USA has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world and the truth is, the big, heartless, mean spirited, greedy, corporations do not pay those taxes. We do.
6. Cut capital gains taxes to encourage investment. It worked for President Clinton. Have you heard about it?
7. Remove the "mark to market" rules. This was a major part congress's contribution to the recession.
8. Fire the regulators that did not keep an eye on the bad actors at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
9. Investigate congress to find out who was paid off to look the other way and encourage bad lending practices.
10. And stop talking down the economy to keep your crisis going. You've taken enough advantage of it. How about doing something for someone besides yourself.
Oh, and Mr. Dionne, try to concentrate on the substance of your editorials and not the subsidiary issues. It's very distracting.