Tag Archives: obama

Obama’s Tax Gimmick

First Obama was for small budget deficits. Then he decided he really wanted more investment. For a while it looked like he was going to support universal health care. But now he wants young poor workers to subsidize rich old men and women.

My Way News – Obama’s ‘no income taxes on seniors’ draws critics
WASHINGTON (AP) – If you’re a senior citizen and earn less than $50,000 a year, Barack Obama has a deal for you: a life free of federal income tax.

Sounds appealing, right? Maybe to many seniors. But tax policy experts in Washington are giving it bad reviews. They see it as another subsidy for senior citizens, who already get federal help through Social Security and Medicare and often have economic advantages over other demographic groups.

Seniors typically have paid off their mortgages, many have investments and usually don’t pay taxes on their Social Security benefits. The kids are usually grown, so they’re not saddled with day care or college costs.

“The odds are the retired folks – they’re getting pensions, they’re getting Social Security, they have investment assets, they own a house – so … they’re better off than somebody who is 30 or 40 years younger who’s trying to buy a house (and) trying to start saving,” said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy for Deloitte Tax.

What is Obama thinking? Is he serious? I realize he is not much smarter than George W. Bush was in 2000 when it comes to policy, but even Bush’s income tax cuts could theoretically have worked.

Obama’s tax plan looks like a bigoted attempt to buy off the vote of rich seniors, forcing young workers who are trying to afford health insurance, buy a home, or pay off their student loan to subsidize those with a lot more wealth than they have.

Giuliani Right on Health Care

Sentora, M. (2007). Giuliani seeks to transform U.S. health care coverage. New York Times. August 1, 2007. Available online: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/us/politics/01giuliani.html.

Neither his plan nor the article covering it are perfect, but hard not to like this:

Rudolph W. Giuliani on Tuesday called for transforming the way health care coverage is provided in the United States, advocating a voluntary move from the current employer-based system to one that would grant substantial tax benefits to people who buy their own insurance.

..

And to help the poor or others struggling to afford health insurance, Mr. Giuliani said he would support vouchers and tax refunds, but he gave no details about how he would pay for them.

Mr. Giuliani’s vision stands in stark contrast to the plans offered by the leading Democratic candidates. Both Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and former Senator John Edwards of North Carolina have proposed bolstering the employer-based system by requiring corporations to buy insurance for their workers, and raising taxes or rolling back tax cuts to increase subsidies for health care for the poor.

Corporatism, the idea that companies should be simultaneously protected by the government but expected to fund welfare societies for their workers and dependents, is one of those bad ideas that are just hard to killed. From China’s State-Owned Companies to Detroit’s dinosaurs, too many enterprises and too many workers have been dragged down because governments made the stupid prediction that large companies cannot possibly go bankrupt.

There needs to be some form of universal healthcare, and it should be at least funded by the government through the income tax. Calls for “employer-based healthcare,” like from the junior Senator from Illinois and former junior Senator from North Carolina, are steps in the wrong direction.

Barnett wrong on Obama

Tom Barnett and I agree on a lot (such as the use f private contractors to counter the excessive relative value given to individual lives in public discourse), but he’s wrong in his defense of Senator Barack Obama and his attacks on Senator Clinton (see posts from July 28 and July 25). Specifically, in a recent Democratic Party debate Obama said that he would freely meet with rogue leaders without preconditions, while Clinton emphasized the need for care and concern when meeting with rogue states.

Meetings with high-level American officials are goods. They benefit not only the regimes hosting the officials, but those factions within the regimes seen as orchestrating it. The opposite is also true: when American officials are too busy to visit some country or organization, the snub hurts not only the would-be host but those elements that are seen as having “lost” or “depended on” the visit.

It’s is foolish to pretend that high-level American officials have an infinite amount of time and energy, or that as much time as possible should be spent visiting our enemies instead of our friends, “on the fence states,” or even doing the other jobs they are employed to do.

Barnett’s defense of Obama is wrong, and I fear it has a lot more to do with exasperation against Senator Clinton and the “baby boomers” in general (or perhaps the physical pain Tom’s enduring) than with the validity of Obama’s statements or even Barack himself.

For a more reasonable analysis of Obama’s statement, see zenpundit‘s Obama’s lack of sea-legs in foreign policy.

Update: A social faux paus! As I’m complaining, Tom is complimenting!