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“But For Protecting The Middle Class”: Still Believe President Obama Seeks A Permanent American Socialist State?

One of the strangest—and for me, most annoying—perversions of politics in the Obama era is the meme pursued by so many on the right suggesting that this president is a raging socialist who seeks to install a permanent welfare state in America—despite all evidence to the contrary.

In the wake of the fiscal cliff deal—supported not only by the President but by an overwhelming vote of elected Democrats—we should now be able to put this foolishness to rest once and for all as we acknowledge a simple and clear reality—

If Barack Obama is indeed a socialist, he must be the absolute worst socialist in recorded history.

How do we now know this beyond any reasonable question of a doubt?

Any good conservative will be among the first to tell you that financing a permanent welfare state takes huge amounts of money—money that can only be raised by taxing a wide swath of the nation’s citizenry. And yet, the President just pushed through a law permanently lowering taxes for some 99 percent of all Americans— and was hailed as a big winner for his effort to do so.

For someone who would prefer to be President of, say, Sweeden, such a deal could only be viewed as a crushing defeat, not a political victory.

And if you somehow imagine that the President believes he can accomplish the financing of his “European style welfare state” through the rather meager increase in progressive tax rates now to be levied on the nation’s largest earners, I would suggest you take heed of the many conservatives who have incessantly reminded us over these past few months that the sum total of the tax increases on the rich will only serve to fund government for a few days a year—clearly nowhere near enough cash to fund a true, socialist agenda.

Still, I know what you’re thinking…the President is planning to create his socialist paradise by borrowing and printing all the money required to pay the high cost of the expanded welfare state he covets.

Sorry…it just doesn’t work and the President would know this better than just about anyone.

While borrowing money may be the modus operandi for filling in the shortfalls when it comes to financing entitlement programs in an era of relatively low taxes (at least comparatively speaking) and a dramatic increase in the senior population depending upon entitlement programs, I suspect even the most conservative economists would tell you —correctly I would add—that all of our available borrowing power is strained just trying to stay even with our entitlement and defense obligations, let alone expand entitlements to the point where we would even approach a government philosophy that could be comparable with a European socialistic society.

Indeed, even if the President chose to press for more borrowing or printing, he could, at best, only do so in support of the existing entitlement programs as it would take an act of Congress to expand the system.

Does anyone believe the Congress is heading in the direction of expanding entitlements? We have a House of Representatives gerrymandered into GOP control for a period likely to last at least until the end of the decade—meaning it will outlive Obama’s second term.

Thus, when Obama got behind preserving the Bush tax cuts for all but the wealthiest Americans, he did so knowing that he would never be able to expand the entitlement programs at any time during the remainder of his term. If it was a socialist society he was seeking, he had but one chance and that was to raise taxes on everyone, not just the very wealthy.

So, exactly how is it possible that a President and a Democratic Party—hell bent on creating this permanent welfare state in America—could support any deal that would not allow the Bush tax cuts to sunset as scheduled so that tax rates would return to the larger numbers of the Clinton era?

Such support would make no sense for anyone favoring expansion of the welfare state. And yet, this President chose to support the permanent lowering of taxes on the middle class as did his party.

While you may be displeased with the fiscal cliff compromise for any number of reasons, including the failure of the parties to do much of anything about spending, the simple fact remains that—for better or for worse—decades of Democratic Party/progressive tax philosophy went out the window last week when an overwhelming majority of Democrats voted to support the fiscal cliff deal—and with it went any rational support for the notion that President Obama and his party have some secret, European socialist vision in mind for the country.

All you need do to understand this is take a look at the number of Congressional Democrats who cast their votes in support of the two pieces of legislation that produced the Bush tax cuts and compare those votes to the vote of the Congressional Democrats making those very cuts permanent for approximately 99 percent of all Americans.

The vote tally for the 2001 bill that created the first round of the Bush tax cuts delivered just 28 votes in support from House Democrats. The second round—which came in 2003—could only muster up 7 Democratic votes in support.

The vote this week to make these very same tax cuts permanent received overwhelming support from House Democrats, who cast 172 votes in favor of very likely ending middle class tax increases during our lifetime—and they did so at the specific behest of the same Democratic president who many argue is committed to creating the American welfare state.

That simply does not add up for a President looking to create France in America.

As a result, one cannot rationally argue that the President, and his party— who cast their support in favor of leaving more money in the pockets of 99 percent of Americans so that they could spend the money supporting the businesses of America rather than handing it over to government to spend it for them—desire the path of socialism.

While I’m certain there will be no shortage of issues available to those wishing to attack the President, can we now dare to hope that the next time someone feels the need to vent, they might do so without the whole “Obama is a socialist” narrative?

I hope so. What was a silly narrative before the fiscal cliff deal, it is an embarrassingly preposterous narrative today.

By: Rick Ungar, Op-Ed Contributor, Forbes, January 6, 2013

January 7, 2013 - Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , , ,

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