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In order to keep up with the nature of free, spirited debate, I wanted to place the chat feature at the top of the homepage. This ensures people can come here and share their views on anything they wish and not have it be related to any specific discussion. Here, people can share ideas, links, and views "unmoderated" and an their own pace. To me, this makes The Elephant in the Room blog truly a place for debate.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Obama's Speech: A Thought and a Question

Obama gave a campaign speech today. Yes, it was a campaign speech. For those who say it wasn't I ask "why would he need to travel to Kansas to discuss extending the payroll tax holiday?" He used this speech to talk about this and the issue of "wealth inequality." Oh boy.

I will keep this short. In his speech Obama said,

         - "It's a view that says in America, we are greater together -- when everyone engages in fair play, everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share."

We (as a blog) believe in equal opportunity, NOT equal results. The U.S. government does not make laws that holds one group down while letting another succeed. We believe that it's this notion that allows some people to become wealthy while allowing some people to become poor. Ultimately, people have the ability to choose their path towards success or failure. We think that the "make the rich pay a greater rate" plan is NOT fair. To us, fairness is making everyone pay the same rate (which still leads to the rich paying more, anyway). To us, "sharing" equals "you work hard for it, I want it."

I pose a question about the quote above. It's more of a hypothetical situation, and I would ask it to Obama if I had the chance:

        - "If, yes, this is a BIG IF (though I do believe for the most part that yes, it is the case) the 'everyone' described above did engage in fair play and did get a fair shot and an equal opportunity, and the wealth inequality still existed (which it would because yes, some people DO work hard and make better choices, which is why I think wealth inequality does exist today) would Obama still promote making the rich pay more even though everyone had the chance to determine their fates in an equitable and 'fair shot' way?"

What do democrats say? Republicans? Interested in some open debate here. Thank you.


  1. Your question is, in my opinion WAY too vague... after all, what does "fair share" mean? It has a different meaning to everyone. Even I couldn't define what I believe to be a "fair share" although I know what seems right and wrong. I feel that today's structure isn't getting it done. I believe there are too many tax loopholes and those are for the people who can afford the accountants that know about them or they exist in a realm where only the wealthy can play. Sen. Jim DeMint just released a report about such abuse of taxpayer money (and I'm guessing they're not all in there but that's just the skeptic in me). It also brings up a philosophical question, in my opinion, about whether the wealthy should pay a little more under the premise that they make their money off the backs of the 'little' people who don't see the same rate of financial appreciation as upper management does. In my personal opinion, they should pay more. Now, if they want to change the pay structure to make financial increases uniform, different story but the fact is that the top earners see a disproportionate increase in financial compensation as the general populous. That being said, I believe that, once that balance is met (and it could never be done within a single presidential term as it needs to be nurtured), the wealth inequality issue would be solved and this country would be virtually impenetrable to situations like those of today (that's not meant to be an absolute statement). I don't think anyone's talking about specific pay structures or anything like that. I think people want the corporations to be fair. When the CEO's are seeing nearly 300% increases over a 30 year span and Joe Average is seeing a 40% increase over the same span, something is terribly wrong, in my opinion. It's hard to regulate but you can look at the numbers and it's hard to argue that everyone is on the same footing.

    Again, there are too many variables within the question (vagueness (above) may be the wrong word). My belief is that today's tax structure isn't fair and places and unfair tax burden on Joe Average. (by the way, that's not to say that I agree with how Congress distributes our money, I'm speaking within the context of the post)

  2. I think progressives of Obama's caliber generally are looking for greater equality of outcome. That is why redistribution of wealth and the wealth equity gap is an important item while he's campaigning.

    The fundamental issue is this: In order to achieve "equality", you have to treat people unequally. If a person or group of individuals gets preferential treatment because they are not at the same starting point as another group, then you're attempting to bring about equality of outcome by treating people unequally.

    This is the Orwellian idea of equality. "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

  3. Fair share applies in exactly one instance. Equal pay for equal demand. Lower demand means lower pay. Higher demand means higher pay.

    Forget left and right. There are two kinds of people. Those who demand NOTHING of others and those that demand EVERYTHING of others.

    America was once a nation of people who demanded nothing of others. Progressives have changed that, by not only turning millions and millions of Americans into addicts, but teaching them that it's acceptable to demand the fruits of others labor.

    The America of our grandparents is over folks. Progressives have won, not because of the power they wield, but because of the millions and millions of Americans they've ruined and made both dependent and demanding of their neighbors for their livelihood.

  4. To all three comments: Thank you! This is the kind of civil debate we want. We are glad to see it expanding. We appreciate the calm civility yet expression of differing opinions.

    Whatsamattausa - You know I like to keep it simple :-) Sometimes that's lost in vagueness. The issue I want to underline is that incomes are not static. People can rise up or fall down the income latter. With that, I think income tax rates should be 100% flat. 10%, 15%, 20% for all. Period. No exemptions, no different capital gains rates. You earn it, you pay XX% on it. To me, that eliminates politicians trying to woo voters by offering one group favorable tax policies. That also gets the government out of picking and choosing who pays it's bills. It also ensures that each worker contributes the same amount of time out of each hour worked. It also stops people from resting. If the $30,000 worker doesn't like his take-home pay (again, incomes are not static) he can work harder, get an education, start a business, etc. to increase his income. It's his choice. As far as CEO's pay, pay is still determined by the value of labor and other market conditions. With less and less qualified CEO's and more and more companies trying to get them, their pay has to be high if a company wants to hire and retain the best minds and talent. But again, I fall back to the fact that people aren't locked into their incomes. If they were, I would be for progressive tax rates. But since they aren't, everyone has the equal opportunity under the law to get to be a CEO. That pretty much sums up my view. Fairness and no government discrimination, period. :-)

    TheStocks - Of course you know I agree with you. It's the same with Affirmative Action. They claim it's not discriminatory, but it truly is. With starting points, yes, some people start very poor (I'm one; my mother was not married and had me at 16. I had nothing growing up, and had to wait until I was 26 years old to go to college, but I did make that choice) but there is nothing saying you're stuck there. There are many cases where people rise up out of nothing, and my attitude is "if one can do it, all can." We don't need to discriminate against the rich to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity. The opportunity lies in choices to be made, not the starting point. People are at the place they are in their lives because of the choices they made or didn't make. Why should we take more from one group because of the choices others made?

    Anonymous - I wonder if I can sum up your point in two ways: "Progressive taxes = I worked hard for it, you want it" and the second is kind of what I believe, "yes, taking from the rich more to give to the poor via social equalizing programs DOES help the poor... but, not as much as it kills their incentive to actually do it for themselves." These are just my opinions, though, and I do see what you're saying.

    Thank you to all. We hope to see your responses. We truly appreciate the thoughtful inputs.

  5. In America, we're born with 'equal' opportunities. What we do with those is up to us. It all comes down to 'personal responsibility.'

    And thereby hangs the tale, in Obama's world. His administration is all about 'blaming' someone for someone else's lack of personal responsiblity. Therefore, in his twisted view of America, someone (the rich) MUST PAY.

    Their crime? USING their God given talents/gifts PRODUCTIVELY. And yes, there's a certain amount of luck involved in all endeavors... or maybe even THAT is just good timing?

    Obama said in a speech, 'There comes a time when you've made enough money.' Really? How much is ENOUGH? And WHO made THAT rule?

    So... when the Government decides a person has EARNED ENOUGH money, the Government should then take/steal the rest and... what?

    GIVE it to those who CHOOSE... to NOT work hard to improve their lots in life? Those who made poor life choices - and haven't we ALL at some time? - and then DEMAND that someone ELSE pay for them?

    In answer to your 'income inequality' question... it's pretty much moot. Those who have made their living taking, would continue to take. Those who make, would continue to make. And if (God forbid) Obama were still in office, he'd be more than happy to play Robin Hood... for the 'greater good', by stealing from those makers... to give to the takers.

    That said, I'll be spending the next few years working hard to restore our America to her former glory. She's down - but she's not out... yet!

    Obama and his ilk can 'keep the change.'

  6. Dara - As always, love your comments. Of course, you're preaching to the choir! :-)

    I completely agree with you that it's up to the person to make responsible choices.

    Your point here: "Obama said in a speech, 'There comes a time when you've made enough money.' Really? How much is ENOUGH? And WHO made THAT rule?" is something I feel very strongly about.

    The reason: who should be given such a power to determine what level of income is "enough?" Do we really want to be in a society that yields this kind of power? Isn't that tyrannical? To have a governing body determine that those who use their skills and talents have earned enough, and if they choose to continue doing what they're doing, since they've maxed out, they must submit it to the state. This sounds closer to slavery than to freedom to me.

    I do like your points, and you're not afraid to speak your mind. We are thankful you stop by and comment. Our headline post now is about Obama's claim that the rich should pay more and that the media promotes this tripe. Hope to see you comment there. Take care!