Campaign Promises... and Realities

If John McCain plays his cards right he will win this election. Don’t believe the polls. They are skewed by the media as they are skewed in every election. In fact Obama had a 10-point poll lead the day before he lost the New Hampshire primary to Hillary.

McCain must play the economic card hard. More on that further below. But first, Obama’s economic plan.

Obama is promising Americans that he is going to cut middle-class taxes. Whether he would follow through is another issue entirely.

And knowing what we know about him, he wouldn’t follow through if he even got elected. Because in his 3 years in the US Senate, Obama has received an F rating from the National Taxpayers Union. NTU arrives at its ratings by assessing a candidate’s votes on tax bills that come under his jurisdiction. It is not NTU’s opinion.

Now F-rated Obama is promising that as president that he will cut taxes for anyone earning less than $250,000. But remember that as president he only could sign legislation that the Congress passes first.

The next Congress is expected to be heavily Democrat. It would definitely send Obama a huge tax increase on the so-called “rich”. Then perhaps Congress might send him a token middle-class tax cut but only if it included a ‘tax cut’ for those in the workforce who pay zero federal income tax to begin with, which is variously estimated at 60 million workers.

In other words, those 60 million people would be getting a direct subsidy from the government, like a welfare check.

What is most likely, however, is that Obama and his friends in the Congress would scrutinize the budget outlook for 2009 and decide that the nation simply cannot afford a middle-class tax cut at all. Congress even could take and diffuse the hit for Obama by refusing to send him tax cut legislation.

Proposing tax cuts to get elected and then canceling them once in office is a standard Democrat tactic. Bill Clinton did exactly that in 1993 after promising a cut in his 1992 campaign. Clinton eventually raised taxes on the middle class, which is what Obama would do.

The media never gave Clinton’s U-turn a second glance. Yet when George HW Bush said in his 1988 campaign “Read my lips, no new taxes” and then accepted a tax increase in his first term, the media latched onto it like a dog on a ham hock. They still talk about it today. The resulting press mauling was an important factor in Bush’s loss to Clinton in 1992.

To get a better bead on the tax issue, it is important to look at how Obama, the liberal left and its media friends are approaching the issue of Joe the Plumber from Toledo, Ohio, aka Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, who told Obama that he wants to buy a plumbing business and wondered how his taxes would fare under an Obama administration.

In response, Obama told Wurzelbacher that his taxes would be raised after he became successful because “I think that when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

This comment – “spread the wealth around” – may well be the October Surprise that tilts the election to McCain.

Here is the actual transcript of Obama’s exchange with Wurzelbacher:

Wurzelbacher said: “I’m getting ready to buy a company that makes 250 to 280 thousand dollars a year. Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?”

Obama said, “First off, you would get a 50% tax credit so you’d get a tax cut for your healthcare costs….. if your revenue is above 250 – then from 250 down, your taxes are going to stay the same. It is true that from 250 up – from 250 – 300 or so, so for that additional amount, you’d go from 36 to 39%, which is what it was under Bill Clinton. And the reason why we’re doing that is because 95% of small businesses make less than 250. So what I want to do is give them a tax cut. I want to give all these folks who are bus drivers, teachers, auto workers who make less, I want to give them a tax cut. And so what we’re doing is, we are saying that folks who make more than 250 that that marginal amount above 250 – they’re gonna be taxed at a 39 instead of a 36% rate.”

Responded Wurzelbacher, “the reason I ask you about the American dream, I mean I’ve worked hard. I’m a plumber. I work 10-12 hours a day and I’m buying this company and I’m going to continue working that way. I’m getting taxed more and more while fulfilling the American dream.”

“Well,” said Obama, “here’s a way of thinking about it. How long have been a plumber?”

Wurzelbacher said 15 years.

Obama says, “Over the last 15 years, when you weren’t making 250, you would have been given a tax cut from me, so you’d actually have more money, which means you would have saved more, which means you would have gotten to the point where you could build your small business quicker than under the current tax code. So there are two ways of looking at it – I mean one way of looking at it is, now that you’ve become more successful through hard work – you don’t want to be taxed as much.”

“Exactly,” Wurzelbacher said.

Obama continued, “But another way of looking at it is 95% of folks who are making less than 250, they may be working hard too, but they’re being taxed at a higher rate than they would be under mine. So what I’m doing is, put yourself back 10 years ago when you were only making whatever, 60 or 70. Under my tax plan you would be keeping more of your paycheck, you’d be paying lower taxes, which means you would have saved…Now look, nobody likes high taxes.”

“No,” said Wurzelbacher.

“Of course not,” said Obama. “But what’s happened is that we end up – we’ve cut taxes a lot for folks like me who make a lot more than 250. We haven’t given a break to folks who make less, and as a consequence, the average wage and income for ordinary folks, the vast majority of Americans, has actually gone down over the last eight years. So all I want to do is – I’ve got a tax cut. The only thing that changes, is I’m gonna cut taxes a little bit more for the folks who are most in need and for the 5% of the folks who are doing very well – even though they’ve been working hard and I appreciate that – I just want to make sure they’re paying a little bit more in order to pay for those other tax cuts. Now, I respect the disagreement. I just want you to be clear – it’s not that I want to punish your success – I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you – that they’ve got a chance at success too.”

Wurzelbacher said it seemed as though Obama might support a flat tax.

Obama says, “you know, I would be open to it except here’s the problem with a flat tax is that if you actually put a flat tax together, in order for it to work and replace all the revenue that we’ve got, you’d probably end up having to make it like about a 40% sales tax. I mean that’s the value added, making it up. Now some people say 23 or 25, but in truth when you add up all the revenue that would need to be raised, you’d have to slap on a whole bunch of sales taxes on. And I do believe for folks like me who have worked hard, but frankly also been lucky, I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress that I just met over there who’s things are slow and she can barely make the rent.”

Obama said, “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. If you’ve got a plumbing business, you’re gonna be better off if you’re gonna be better off if you’ve got a whole bunch of customers who can afford to hire you, and right now everybody’s so pinched that business is bad for everybody and I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

(end of exchange)

Well, well. Isn’t that interesting…

Instead of trying to explain every detail, Obama should just have offered a short answer and skipped the “spread the wealth around” stuff. Because “spread the wealth around” easily can cost him the election.

And since “spread the wealth around” is a major gaffe, the media have actually been attacking Wurzelbacher in order to try to bury Obama’s comment. But it is too late for that. That does not mean that the media are not trying to savage Wurzelbacher, however, in the most unseemly ways.

Robert Barnes of the *Washington Post *wrote:

The emergence of Joe has allowed the state of Ohio to locate the man it says owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes. His motives for confronting Sen. Barack Obama at a campaign stop in his neighborhood this week are the subject of intense Internet speculation. The city of Toledo is preparing a letter to his employer seeking to determine whether he is violating city codes, and the plumber’s union is on his tail.

“Joe the Plumber really isn’t a plumber,” said Thomas Joseph, business manager of UA Local 50 of the Plumbers, Steamfitters and Service Mechanics Union, whose national membership has endorsed Obama.

Wurzelbacher, 34, had already taken tentative steps onto the national stage after talking to Obama on Sunday as the Democrat toured his suburban neighborhood outside Toledo. Wurzelbacher told Obama that he wants to buy the plumbing company he works for, and that his potential income of more than $250,000 would make him eligible for increased taxes under Obama’s proposals.(end of Barnes post)

Look at the ruthless tone of Barnes. This is a media surrogate for the Obama campaign pulling out the long knives like a police state would over a peon who has embarrassed the great leader. The attacks on Wurzelbacher for not being a licensed plumber are bogus. He is in the process of becoming licensed. And he owes some back taxes. Big deal. But to Obama, Wurzelbacher is the enemy.

Wrote Frank James on the Swamppolitics website.

According to records on file with the Lucas County (Ohio) Court of Common Pleas, the state filed a tax lien against Samuel J. Wurzelbacher for $1,182.98 on Jan. 26, 2007, that is still active.(end of James post)

There are hundreds of such comments all over the media. They all amount to the same thing – Joe the Plumber now is Joe the Enemy. The ‘common man’ that Democrats claim to speak for now is their adversary because he is the wrong kind of ‘common man’ just as Sarah Palin is the wrong kind of ‘woman’.

Spreading the wealth around by government taxation and redistribution is called some very bad names in a free and open nation like America. And so when people at McCain rallies protest Obama’s “socialism” they are not just blowing smoke. They have legitimate concerns. Now McCain has Obama’s actual words to use against him and this could be the game changer that McCain needs to win the election.

At the same time, McCain should emphasize the point made at the beginning of this essay, that Obama never will make the tax cuts that he is proposing anyway. Or they will only be token cuts at best. Democrat congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, chairman of the House financial services committee, along with the front page of the *New York Times *on October 20, has set the stage by talking openly about more spending and higher deficits. “This is a time when deficit fear has to take a second seat (a back seat)” to other concerns, said Frank. “I believe later on there should be tax increases.”Get ready for more taxes and more spending if Obama is elected. More taxes on everybody.

Wurzelbacher said in an interview about Obama’s spread-the-wealth-around comment: “His answer totally scared me even more.”

Wurzelbacher was further shocked when he heard the audio tape of Obama mocking him (Wurzelbacher) in a campaign speech, asking his audience (to laughter): “How many plumbers do you know making a quarter-million dollars a year?”

This arrogance has rubbed Wurzelbacher the wrong way and may redound negatively to Obama. Wurzelbacher could become McCain’s most effective surrogate. He represents everything that conservatives say they do – self reliance, hard work and a desire to achieve on his own.

Obama’s stand on all the issues should be raising flags everywhere particularly that he now is running on tax cuts when he in fact is an F-rated socialist. Voters should be very suspicious that he is promoting a $3,000 tax credit for small business to hire new workers. Because that is pure sophistry. It sounds conservative and pro-business in order to get elected, but businesses do not hire a worker at, say, $50,000 in wages and benefits in order to get $3,000 in tax credits. They hire people when the business climate allows them to.

Obama simply is trying to run out the clock on the election so that he can preside over a massive increase in the size of government. His actual tax plan, after rejecting outright or reducing substantially any middle-class tax cut, would be to raise taxes in other places. Or at least that’s what his history says he would do. A rise in the Social Security tax from 12.4% of hourly income to 15% would be a huge blow to every worker in America.

Meanwhile gas taxes, sales taxes and income taxes in all the various states and cities controlled by Obama’s Democrat cronies are going up, up and away. Liberal California has a gasoline tax of 44 cents per gallon. More conservative Colorado is 22 cents. Somewhat conservative Florida has zero state income tax, which is why so many prosperous people live there, adding to its wealth. Ultra-liberal Hawaii’s income tax goes as high as 8.25%. Very liberal New Jersey’s highest income tax rate is 8.97%. Chicago sales tax? 10.25%!

Meanwhile Democrats in Congress already are preparing a $300 billion stimulus plan in anticipation of an Obama presidency. Not a tax cut, mind you, but a government handout controlled by Democrats to buy votes for Democrats. This is what is called “spreading the wealth around”. And that is why McCain/Palin must repeatedly use the word “socialism” in order to tell the world what Obama really represents. If they do so forcefully, they can win this election.

Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more.

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