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Sunday, February 12, 2012

An Insightful Wall Street Journal Article Quizzing President Obama on Fairness

Below is an article that has been floating around the Twittersphere recently. It was written by The Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore, and it raises some serious questions about "fairness." I think that in order for Barack Obama to be a one-term president, the GOP needs to take an article like this to heart. Every conservative that wishes to see Obama's White House departure should do their part to pass this intriguing information on as often as they can.

Here is the article's link: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204369404577206980068367936.html

The entire text is available below. I chose to post the article's entire text because I wanted to ask some simple questions, and I felt that all the information about the article should be shared. First, the questions:

- Which one of Moore's points do you think is the most significant?

- Which point affects America the most?

- Which one of Moore's points "bugs" you the most?

- Are there any points you do not agree with? Are there any that you feel are factually untrue? Over-exaggerated?

- What fairness questions would YOU quiz the president with?

The article's text:

President Obama has frequently justified his policies—and judged their outcomes—in terms of equity, justice and fairness. That raises an obvious question: How does our existing system—and his own policy record—stack up according to those criteria?

Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?

Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?

Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?

Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?

Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money—paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars—must then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?

Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?

Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?

Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?

Is it fair that the three counties with America's highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?

Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is "subsidized"?

Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don't work?

Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can't afford to repay?

Is it fair that thousands of workers won't have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?

Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama's largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?

Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?

Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?

Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?
Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at all—a number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?

Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?

Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—who never voted for Mr. Obama—will have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?

Please share your comments below.

16 comments:

  1. My favorite and most significant is "Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?"

    I would also ask "do you think it's fair to trample the constitution while most other Americans support it?"

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    1. Hey Anonymous,
      Snake Plissken here. Just wondering if you could clarify who the last part of your statement was directed to. And perhaps go a bit further. As is, I find it to be a bit cryptic.

      Thanks.

      -Snake Plissken

      Delete
  2. "Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?"

    This is an Anti Capitalist statement and I don't see how it fits within the context of the main arguments within this article. I see things like this slipped into get the reader riled up when it really isn't needed. If anything it just confuses the other well thought out concepts.

    -Snake Plissken

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    1. Snake - Long time, no see. Welcome back!

      You do make a good point here. I can see how this wouldn't fit, and yes, could possibly be seen as anti-capitalist.

      Which one of these do you think is the most significant?

      Delete
    2. Well my friend, it's a mixed bag. I feel like the phrasing of the points is a bit skewed by the relation to "Fairness". Nobody ever said the rules are "Fair" however the basic concept we accept as a society it that there is a purpose for the rules and regulations in place.
      That being said - I do agree with the majority of the points in the Article.

      With the following hitting a personal nerve.

      "Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?"

      We see this from the Republican side as well with loopholes and shady tax breaks.
      I'm not one of those lunatics out there saying "Eat the Rich", but I also can't sit back as a patriot and watch people (From either side) game the system and make out like bandits.

      I would love to see a flat tax and I hope that is where we are headed.


      -Snake Plissken

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  3. 'Evening

    I'd have to say that if these bullets are the best anti-Obama message one can come up with, they're going to fall short of their hope in keeping him a one-term president.

    Most of them are pretty weak points that don't apply to him in particular as much as it just being part of our existing system.

    - Is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?
    * As it has been trending towards for the past 40+ years; not a fact that is particular to or caused by Obama’s administration. The only leg to stand on in this area is his support for the Buffet rule, but that alone doesn’t have enough opposition to rely on and in actuality has garnered quite a bit of support (especially among Independents). Not a strong point.

    - Is it fair that the richest 10% of Americans shoulder a higher share of their country's income-tax burden than do the richest 10% in every other industrialized nation, including socialist Sweden?
    * Again, not particular to Obama’s administration, as above.

    - Is it fair that American corporations pay the highest statutory corporate tax rate of all other industrialized nations but Japan, which cuts its rate on April 1?
    * Once gain, not his administration. And on top of that he’s expressed desire to cut corporate tax rates. Very weak point.

    - Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?
    * This one is a huge stretch. Run Obama out of office for sending his kids to private school? Weak point.

    - Is it fair that Americans who build a family business, hire workers, reinvest and save their money—paying a lifetime of federal, state and local taxes often climbing into the millions of dollars—must then pay an additional estate tax of 35% (and as much as 55% when the law changes next year) when they die, rather than passing that money onto their loved ones?
    *Current estate taxes are not Obama’s administration, again. This also paints an obviously biased picture as estate taxes are only owed on inheritances in the millions of dollars (you’re not going to get much widespread support here, and if anything just open yourself up to more ‘only care about the rich!’ criticism). Very weak point.

    - Is it fair that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, former Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel and other leading Democrats who preach tax fairness underpaid their own taxes?
    * Stretching. Nothing to even do with Obama. And if this turns to finger-picking Democrats vs finger-picking Republicans, both sides have plenty of ammo. Weak point.

    - Is it fair that after the first three years of Obamanomics, the poor are poorer, the poverty rate is rising, the middle class is losing income, and some 5.5 million fewer Americans have jobs today than in 2007?
    * This might be a valid point if it compared the state of the country at his inauguration date to current times, but it instead conveniently compares right before the economic crash. Which makes this a weak, obviously biased statistic.

    - Is it fair that roughly 88% of political contributions from supposedly impartial network television reporters, producers and other employees in 2008 went to Democrats?
    * That isn’t even relevant nor does it make sense; are you for or against the Citizen’s United decision? If you’re for it and campaign regulations, then it’s hypocritical to say it’s not fair for campaign contributions to work that way (which they do for both Dems and Repubs alike). If you’re against it, Obama is the only one who has spoken out against it. Very weak point.

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  4. - Is it fair that the three counties with America's highest median family income just happen to be located in the Washington, D.C., metro area?
    * Nothing at all to do with Obama administration, again. And a weak point overall.

    - Is it fair that wind, solar and ethanol producers get billions of dollars of subsidies each year and pay virtually no taxes, while the oil and gas industry—which provides at least 10 times as much energy—pays tens of billions of dollars of taxes while the president complains that it is "subsidized"?
    *This is a better point. However, both industries get large subsidies and you’ll be hard-pressed to rally up a large amount of American support in favor of big oil/gas being treated unfairly.

    - Is it fair that those who work full-time jobs (and sometimes more) to make ends meet have to pay taxes to support up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits for those who don't work?
    *A fair point, but also still not a policy that was passed by the Obama administration. But, a large portion of Americans have (at some point) collected unemployment over the past 5 years; do you really want to alienate them while still attempting to win over their votes? Not the best idea.

    - Is it fair that those who took out responsible mortgages and pay them each month have to see their tax dollars used to subsidize those who acted recklessly, greedily and sometimes deceitfully in taking out mortgages they now can't afford to repay?
    * This is an actual, valid point against an Obama supported and passed policy. However, the point is wrong in that ‘their tax dollars’ are subsidizing it, as it is being paid for by Banks (and not individuals). So this point could work if it was more accurate; but it might not garner much support without the catch-phrase of ‘your tax dollars paying for it!’

    - Is it fair that thousands of workers won't have jobs because the president sided with environmentalists and blocked the shovel-ready Keystone XL oil pipeline?
    * Somewhat of a decent point, but not so much as this can easily be spun back to the GOP in the question of “Was it fair to block the transportation bill (or even the jobs bill) that not only would’ve created hundreds of thousands more jobs, but also revamped poor infrastructure and provided improved transportation?” Both parties have blocked ‘jobs bills’; even worse when the GOP campaigned for control of Congress on jobs.

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  5. (continued)

    - Is it fair that some of Mr. Obama's largest campaign contributors received federal loan guarantees on their investments in renewable energy projects that went bust?
    *: A fair point, but still not quite unique to Obama and more of a problem in politics overall. See: Campaign financing for supports of Medicare Part D, or supporters of PIPA/SOPA, etc. But, still a workable point.

    - Is it fair that federal employees receive benefits that are nearly 50% higher than those of private-sector workers whose taxes pay their salaries, according to the Congressional Budget Office?
    * Not unique for Obama’s administration again. The government workforce has actually also shrunk substantially since Obama took office, this point would actually hurt to bring up. Weak point.

    - Is it fair that soon almost half the federal budget will take income from young working people and redistribute it to old non-working people, even though those over age 65 are already among the wealthiest Americans?
    *SS and Medicare were not passed by Obama? And good luck campaigning on cutting SS/Medicare, that’s a quick way to lose. A good point but not quite for winning votes, or for an anti-Obama message.

    - Is it fair that in 27 states workers can be compelled to join a union in order to keep their jobs?
    *Not unique to Obama again.

    Is it fair that nearly four out of 10 American households now pay no federal income tax at all—a number that has risen every year under Mr. Obama?
    *Obama’s administration again hasn’t done anything in this area. And that is also a number that has risen every year for quite a while even before Obama.

    - Is it fair that Boeing, a private company, was threatened by a federal agency when it sought to add jobs - in a right-to-work state rather than in a forced-union state?
    *Again, not Obama’s administration.

    - Is it fair that our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids—who never voted for Mr. Obama—will have to pay off the $5 trillion of debt accumulated over the past four years, without any benefits to them?
    *Moderately good point, but more of a winner in the GOP than among Independents/Dems.

    These points may work great to rally up the Republican base, but for the most part they fall on deaf ears when it comes to rallying up support from Independents and Democrats displeased with Obama. And that is what they’ll need to beat him in an election.

    Far too many of the points really have nothing at all to do with Obama’s administration. Perhaps more of a general anti-Democrat message, but again, that won’t be enough to win the election.

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    1. RKen - good evening. I hope you had a good weekend.

      While I can see your point in this, I kind of agree with you, and I kind of don't. Sure, perhaps most of these aren't Obama's fault. I think the main issue is that, from a conservative point of view, not only has Obama done little to correct these things (take for instance, this: is it fair that the richest 1% of Americans pay nearly 40% of all federal income taxes, and the richest 10% pay two-thirds of the tax?) but he has taken measures, or will be taking measures (take a look at his new budget proposal) to make these things, from a conservative point of view, "worse." Obviously, those on the left might not think these kind of things aren't problems. The left might say "why should this be corrected; it's not even a problem?" They might be totally okay with millionaires paying way more in taxes compared to non-millionaires. But in the conservative world, these issues, yes, are problems.

      I think I might be speaking for most conservatives with I say that we object to these things being argued as "fair." Perhaps this is where the author went wrong. His article might not have been towards Obama per sé, but to the whole democratic party/ideology, and perhaps he titled it incorrectly.

      So, in the end, it's kind of like two different people speaking different languages. When Pachyderm Pride said he wanted to write this, I was all for it. I tend to agree with a lot of these. To me, the biggest issue is the constant broadcasting of the term "fair" by Obama. I personally don't believe it is fair to charge one person a very large tax rate while charging someone else a very low one. I also don't think it's fair that in a country that prides itself in personal choice and freedom, one can be compelled to join a union as the author points out. Again, people on the left might think these aren't problems at all, but that's what the purpose of open debate is. This is posted to gather opinions and learn from the opinions of others. Maybe by reading this, you might see what bugs people on our side, and by seeing your post, I am learning what doesn't bug you at all :) Trust me, though I might not agree with your opinions that these points are weak (I think some are, but I think others are quite strong), it's great debate. I hope this post gets seen by more because I would like to understand peoples' understanding of these issues.

      Thank you again, RKen. I hope to hear back from you.

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    2. Overall, yeah, as you said the article makes more sense as a message against Democrats and Democratic policies than one particularly shaped against Obama. That is my main argument, and I don't think that strategy will do well in seeking to prevent a second term.

      Delete
    3. RKen - good morning!

      I don't expect you to think it would be a good strategy, but your positions vs. mine are expected.

      Just as you don't think this strategy for the GOP is a good one to prevent him to be reelected, I don't think using his record to get reelected would be a good strategy for him to use, either. :-)

      Hope all is well.

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    4. Good morning to you as well,

      I believe that, so long as trends continue as they are now, he actually will be able to run on his record rather well. Congress has turned themselves into an easy scapegoat with incredibly high disapproval ratings and an earned reputation as a 'do-nothing Congress.'

      At the same time, many of the indicators of an economic recovery are doing well. The private sector has had growth for the past 23 consecutive months adding ~3.7 million jobs, the GDP has increased steadily for 10 straight quarters, the DOW is up 4,000 points from Jan'09, and unemployment is falling. There’s little question that the economy is recovering right now; it’s more a matter of whether or not other people/policies could’ve done it better (which is not as strong of a point to run on vs running against a stalled/continually failing economy).

      In addition to that, he is able to run on the facts that the Iraq war is over, Al Qaeda is weaker than ever, Libya was a great success, the auto-bailout was a success, his many attempts to pass budget-cutting bills in Congress (including the $4 trillion grand bargain), and even the healthcare act is starting to garner support.

      I'm yet to decide on my vote as there's still a while before elctions, and a lot of things that can happen and change in that time. But if things continue as they are, he will be able to take a decently strong, positive outlook on his record. Maybe even moreso than one can conjur up as a negative outlook.

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  6. Great article. Every point Mr. Moore makes is valid and fully documented. Unfortunately, no one seems to be listening to this accurate, but 'soft' message.

    Greece is literally on fire, due to the very same policies - initially put in place by previous administrations - and now being escalated by this one.

    'There are none so blind, as those who WILL NOT see.'

    The left and MSM continues to push the 'eat the rich' and they should 'pay their fair share' mantra to inflame 'their base.'

    The left rolls out 'the children' to promote their propoganda... never mentioning the fact that those same children will be left to pay for this mess, when we (old people) are long dead.

    SS most definitely needs reform. That said, I can see the point of some retirees - 'I paid into it, what happens to that money should I decide to opt out?' or 'Why should the government decide that I've earned too much money to draw on my 'forced investment'in SS?'

    I agree, Obama did not make this mess, that took decades. Decades in which many, including myself, were much too busy working hard to build our nest eggs and raising our families, to pay much attention.

    He is, however, escalating the destruction - at warp speed. Escalation that threatens all we've worked so hard for.

    And for what?

    A socialist society - where in 'fairness' we make everyone equally poor (except the gov. elite) - is not the legacy I want to leave for my grandkids.

    @Anonymous
    "Is it fair that President Obama sends his two daughters to elite private schools that are safer, better-run, and produce higher test scores than public schools in Washington, D.C.—but millions of other families across America are denied that free choice and forced to send their kids to rotten schools?"

    I could be wrong, but I think the author may have used this because one of Obama's first official acts was the cancellation of the voucher program in D.C. Families stood in lines, just for the chance to 'win the lottery' and place their kids in great schools as opposed to D.C. public schools which rank among the worst in the nation.

    Which brings forth another point in the article. If D.C.'s income, housing, etc. are among the nations highest -- why do their public schools produce such lousy results?

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  7. Good afternoon,

    I can't say I agree with one of your points in particular; Greece on no level is really comparable to America. For a multitude of reasons easy to find out in researching their situation. This isn't to say we shouldn't pay

    Just like when 50-years ago (and even still now) people had to defend the fact that we're not comparable to communist Russia, or any kind of a true socialistic/marxist/communist society, we're not comparable to Greece.

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    1. Above reply was in response to Dara*

      Delete
  8. @RKen

    I'm sorry, but I disagree. Our ballooning entitlement society is very quickly over-taking our GDP. Obama just introduced a budget with massive tax hikes and zero adjustments to those entitlements. The employment numbers the govt. touts are grossly skewed. Our government is taking over business - once private - as we speak. Government regs are choking our once prosperous society.

    And that's not even counting our rampant illegal immigration problem... that Obama and his ilk refuse to address.

    Many members of our American Congress openly admit they embrace socialism. Obama's 'share the wealth' 'redistribution''tax the rich' mantra are PURELY socialist. His attack on religion - borders on pure Marxism.

    Add in Obama's army - the 'occupiers', well funded by the left - chanting, marching, disrupting businesses (rioting in some cases) and calling for a complete rewind of our government and our VERY Constitution (with the exception of THEIR OWN unique interpretation of the 1st amendment) As well as Van Jones, Ms. Pivens, George Soros, unions and numerous others on the left, pumping them up, funding them and ACTIVELY calling for/promoting an 'American Spring' to rival that in Egypt.

    'Socialism works fine - until you run out of other people's money'

    That's what happened in Greece... I pray that I'm wrong, but I don't think we're too far behind.

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