The Obama Rosetta Stone

Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal brings us this insightful idea of understanding Obama. Of course we already know Obama, and this is just reinforcement, but more proof is always a better argument.

Let me introduce his third, a book that will touch everyone’s life: "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America’s Promise. The President’s Budget and Fiscal Preview" (Government Printing Office, 141 pages, $26; free on the Web). This is the U.S. budget for laymen, and it’s a must read. Turn immediately to page 11. There sits a chart called Figure 9. This is the Rosetta Stone to the presidential mind of Barack Obama. Memorize Figure 9, and you will never be confused.

The one on page 11 is attributed to "Piketty and Saez."

Either you know instantly what "Piketty and Saez" means, or you don’t. If you do, you spent the past two years working to get Barack Obama into the White House. If you don’t, their posse has a six-week head start on you.

Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, French economists, are rock stars of the intellectual left. Their specialty is "earnings inequality" and "wealth concentration."

Thanks to Pej, we are now well aware of the Laffer Curve as it is an economic argument for lowering tax rates for everyone. Piketty-Saez is a moral argument for raising taxes on the rich.

It’s important to understand who Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez are. They are economists, of course but they are, in reviewing their positions, pure socialists.

Piketty has written such wonderful position papers titled: Social mobility and redistributive politics; Can fiscal redistribution undo skill-biased technical progress; Income inequality in the United States, 1913-1998; there’s more, but you get the picture.

Not to be left out Saez has also written many papers with the focus on income and wealth concentration (read stealing from the poor). But one stands out as even more devious; "The Elasticity of Taxable Income with Respect to Marginal Tax Rates: A Critical Review" with Joel Slemrod and Seth Giertz, preliminary draft February 2009, in preparation for the Journal of Economics Literature. Elasticity is about how much you can charge for a product before consumer demand drops so Saez is implying that the government should raise taxes as high as possible until there is essentially revolt.


These are the people our president has chosen to include into the budget as reinforcement of the reasoning to raise taxes.

The "top 1%" isn’t just going to pay for these policies. Many of them would assent to that. The rancorous language used to describe these taxpayers makes it clear that as a matter of public policy they will be made to "pay for" the fact of their wealth — no matter how many of them worked honestly and honorably to produce it. No Democratic president in 60 years has been this explicit.

The White House says its goal is simple "fairness." That may be, as they understand fairness. But Figure 9 makes it clear that for the top earners, there will be blood. This presidency is going to be an act of retribution. In the words of the third book from Mr. Obama, "it is our duty to change it."

Taxation for one, taxation for all. Even people I know who are pro-Obama are opening their eyes to the anti-success, anti-business Obama policies coming out now. And they are scared just like I am.


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