Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Curmudgeonly Smear Machine Strikes Again

In its continuous effort to sway his less than politically savvy readers, The Constructive Curmudgeon anti-Obama smear machine published a post entitled More Evidence On Obama's Extreme Leftism.

True to form, the Curmudgeon disabled comments for the post, because no rebuttals are allowed that might diminish the value of the sundry and baseless accusations that the Curmudgeon clumsily slaps together in an effort to paint Obama as the devil only he knows.

I do not want to waste your time, or mine, rebutting every baseless idological accusation the Curmudgeon makes, but one deserves to be exposed for its ham-handedness.
Obama [...] still laments that the (Warren) Supreme Court was not more radical concerning the redistribution of wealth during that era. That is the essential point. He says people "on the ground" can bring redistributive change better than the courts--unless, of course, you are President. Then you can appoint revisionist, redistributionist judges to the highest court in the land. [Emphasis added.]

Joe Klein of Time magazine rebutts the baseless and misleading accusation saying that it gives
a wildly inaccurate reading of remarks that Barack Obama made in a 2001 radio interview. It turns out that he wasn't criticizing the Supreme Court for its failure to "redistribute" wealth. He was saying the exact opposite: that the Supreme Court wasn't the way to go. He was saying that political power was the only real way to make decisions about the distribution of taxation.

Once again: Obama was saying that the Supreme Court is not the place to look if you want to achieve income redistribution, which is the opposite of what the Curmudgeon explicitly says Obama wants to do.

Back to Klein, who makes this obvious but important observation on the Republican campaign bogeyman, income redistribution (boooooo!):
To state the obvious, once again: We have had a redistribution of wealth, upward, during the Reagan era. Taxes on work, a.k.a. payroll taxes, have increased. Taxes on wealth, the upper margins of the income tax plus capital gains plus estate taxes, have decreased. To call Obama a socialist because he wants to redress this imbalance is as accurate as calling McCain an oligarch because he doesn't.

Notably, Klein limits his example to the "Reagan era", without mention of the Bush tax cuts which disproportionately redistributed tax cuts to the wealthiest one percent. Moreover, Obama is being labeled a socialist, and even a communist, by his opponents because he wants to bring the marginal tax rates to the level of the Clinton years (39.6%), a time of unprecedented prosperity for all, and one where the marginal tax rate was still lower than under most of Ronald Reagan's presidency (50%). (See these Tax Foundation data.)

Also, beware of the argument that the richest among us pay the bulk of taxes: true, indeed, but it does not take into account the fact that the richest use a much higher percentage of the commonwealth than the poor do, that the richest have more to lose from a government that--for example--is so underfunded that it cannot maintain infrastructure and security, and that the proportion of taxes that the rich pay is a far lower share of their discretionary income than the poor's.

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