This presidential election is about the future direction of our country. It is a referendum on what type of country we want in America. There are fundamental differences between the progressive (Obama/Biden) view and the conservative (McCain/Palin) view. As I see it, the differences are fairly stark, and are illustrated clearly by looking at tax policy. The progressives view tax policy as a moral issue, to be used to implement social change. Therefore they favor higher taxes on the wealthy to "spread the wealth around" to the less wealthy, as Obama puts it. It is a redistributive policy. Conservatives, on the other hand, view tax policy more as an economic calculation, to be used to stimulate the overall economy in the best possible manner. Conservatives feel economic growth is best accomplished by keeping taxes low for everyone, and in McCain's case, lowering tax rates for business and capital gains to create jobs and growth.
It is only natural to consider progressive tax policy as more socialist in nature, and to consider conservative tax policy as more individualist in nature. When you look at the economic state of our country, with $700 billion bailouts for the financial industry, a $165 billion stimulus package being passed, another $300 billion stimulus package being proposed by the Democrats, the federal government buying up shares of the largest banks in the nation, bailouts for automobile manufacturers, $53 trillion in unfunded entitlement liabilities, $10 trillion in national debt....
It is therefore entirely proper to ask the men and women who are vying to lead this country about the direction in which we're heading. Everyone I know is concerned about it.
West: Senator Obama now famously told Joe the plumber he wanted to spread his wealth around. A Gallup poll showed 84% of Americans prefer government focus on improving economic conditions and creating more jobs in the U.S., as opposed to taking steps to distribute wealth. Isn't Senator Obama's comment a potentially crushing political blunder ?
Biden: Absolutely not. The only person who has spread the wealth around has been George Bush and John McCain's tax policy. They have devastated the middle class. We, for the first time since the late 20's, we have 1% of the people make over 21% of the income in America. That wasn't the way before George Bush became president. All we want is once again to have the middle class to have a fighting chance. That's why we focus all of our efforts on restoring the middle class and giving them a tax break..
Timeout. Let's take a reality break from Biden's talking points. First of all, George Bush did NOT "spread the wealth around" with his tax cuts. Bush cut taxes across the board for everyone, allowing all taxpayers to keep more of THEIR OWN money. That goes for both the wealthy and the middle class. Middle class taxes were far lower under the Bush administration than under the previous Clinton administration. How does giving the middle class more money devastate the middle class, as Biden put it ? Despite all Obama's talk of growing the economy "from the bottom up" with his middle class tax cuts, if you look at Bush's tax cuts realistically, they amounted to growing the economy both from the bottom up and from the top down, because he cut taxes for all. When Obama/Biden talk about returning to the tax policies of the Clinton era, those policies taxed the middle class MORE. Obama/Biden are being dishonest in their portrayal of the Bush tax cuts.
West: You may recognize this famous quote, "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." That's from Karl Marx. How is Senator Obama not being a marxist if he intends to spread the wealth around ?
Biden: Are you joking ? Is this a joke ?
Biden: Is that a real question ?
West: That's a question.
Biden: Ha, ha, ha. He is not spreaking the wealth around. He is talking about giving the middle class an opportunity to get back the tax breaks they used to have.
Huh ? Giving the middle class back the tax breaks they used to have ? That's a lie. As I just said, Bush CUT middle class taxes, and Biden is acting like Bush raised taxes on the middle class. Utter dishonesty from Biden.
Biden: We think the people should be getting a tax break, and not continue to distribute the wealth up...it's a ridiculous comparison, with all due respect.
Here Biden talks about wealthier people keeping their own money as a "distribution of wealth up", which it plainly isn't. It's THEIR OWN MONEY. That's not redistribution. Someone should tell Biden that other people's money doesn't belong to Joe Biden or the federal government. It belongs to the people who earned it. Regardless of our view of what constitutes fair tax policy, we need to at least be honest in our uses of terminology. Biden isn't being honest.
West: Getting back to the spreading the wealth question, what do you say to the people who are concerned that Barack Obama will want to turn America into a socialist country, much like Sweden ?
Biden: I don't know anybody who thinks that except the far right wing of the Republican party.
Really ? Barack Obama's plans for universal health care, to nationalize pre-school, greatly expand government spending, redistribute wealth, and greatly increase taxes, don't bring to mind european-type socialism, such as that practiced in Sweden ? Of course they do, to any thinking person. Again, this election is about the fundamental direction this country will take in the future. These are just the type of questions that should be asked of our candidates.
But Biden objected. Biden addressed the interview at an event in North Carolina - saying it’s one more example of how “mean” the campaign has gotten. “I was on a television station the other day doing a satellite fed to a major network in Florida, and the anchor quotes Karl Marx, and says in a sense, isn’t Barack Obama Karl Marx,” Biden said. “I mean, folks, this stuff you’re hearing, this stuff you’re hearing in this campaign, some of it’s pretty ugly. And some of the innuendo is pretty ugly.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Obama campaign pulled an appearance by Biden's wife from the Florida television station, and also limited access of other Obama campaign members.
Are you kidding me ? Hasn't one of the complaints from Democrats about the Bush administration been that the Bushies won't answer any hard questions, and that they limit access to reporters ? Now we have the Obama campaign doing the very same thing in response to fundamental questions about which direction our country is heading. And Biden calling these fundamental questions "mean" and "ugly" ? I don't think so. Biden's arrogance is off the charts.
With all due respect, Mr. Biden, you work for us, the people. We can and should ask you any damn question we please, and you are supposed to answer it. That's how the public becomes informed and reaches a decision. I only wonder why these questions weren't being asked earlier than one week before the election. It would also help if you told the truth, Mr. Biden, at least once in a while. You aren't doing much of that either.
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