Archive for the ‘socialist’ Category

Grassley: Stop the ‘socialist’ trend

March 24, 2009

The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee on Monday said an across-the-board freeze on federal spending is needed to reel in President Obama´s massive budget plan, signaling a more active Republican stance in fighting the president’s agenda.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, Iowa Republican, also said the president is pursuing a “socialist” form of government that will stifle the free market.

Mr. Grassley told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that a spending freeze is necessary to get the federal deficit under control and to show voters that the government is capable of living within its means in hard times.

“What you get when you have an across-the-board freeze is everybody is seen as contributing something,” Mr. Grassley said.

“Congressmen don’t get an increase in [pay], government pensions don’t go up, you don’t charge senior citizens more for their Medicare premium than you did the year before,” he said, adding that a three-year freeze would produce a more dramatic effect.

As the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, Mr. Grassley figures to play a central role in the fate of some of the president’s top priorities, including tax reform, health care and energy. Mr. Grassley’s collegial relations with Chairman Max Baucus, Montana Democrat, only increases his clout.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news
/2009/mar/24/grassley-urges-budget-
freeze-on-socialist-trend/

Advertisements

Did ACORN Organize Protests At Homes of AIG Execs?

March 22, 2009

On Saturday reporter John Christofferson wrote for the Associated Press that protesters had gone to the homes of AIG executives to make their displeasure known on the bonus issue.

One of our readers commented on the article that the reporter should get an “F” for not pointing out who these people were.

“‘Activists’ ? Who are they? Who organized them? Who paid for the bus ? These are not deep investigative questions. He certainly got the names of the executives and towns easily enough. This is selective journalism at its worst.”

Social Unrest: Hurt by Economy, Europeans Vent Their Anger

We pulled the thread on this and found several sources that confirmed that ACORN (the Association of Community Reform Organizations) engineerd these protests.

We also found out that reporters vastly outnumered the ACORN protesters…

Why would a far left organization so closely tied to Barack Obama feel the need to invade the neighborhoods of the AIG executives after the House of Representatives already made it clear they wanted to get back 90% of these guys’ “bonus” money?

Related:
Protesters At Homes Of AIG Execs (Organized by ACORN?)

Protesters At Homes of AIG Execs Similar To Lawlessness For UK Bank Exec?

Inside Obama’s ACORN
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=N
DZiMjkwMDczZWI5ODdjOWYxZTIzZGIy
NzEyMjE0ODI
=

*******************

From:

Nice Deb

While the tea parties, (which are popping up all over the country, drawing hundreds and even thousands of people every week), are attracting scarce attention from the media, a motley troupe of 40 ACORN malcontents that go by the name of the Connecticut Working Families Party attracted dozens of reporters from around the world for their protest of AIG working family homes, today:

I’ve been to three tea parties so far, all of which were considerably larger than this sad little  exercise in class envy. Only the last one was covered by anyone in the MSM; one lone reporter from the local Fox affiliate.

But the AIG bonuses are apparently what the media insists we  be outraged about, not the insane spending spree Obama and the Dems in Congress have been on. I could have worked up a little indignation over the bonuses, myself,  but all of the maudlin emoting that came out of Congress, and the White House over them, knocked it right out of me.

Not so with CT Working Families Party.

http://nicedeb.wordpress.com
/2009/03/21/acorn-aig-protest-fail/

See also:
http://sweetness-light.com/archi
ve/acorn-behind-protests-at-aig-ct-homes

http://faustasblog.com/?p=10979

http://pjmiller.wordpress.com/
2009/03/22/anger-militancy-and-riots/

The activist group ACORN provided liberal causes with protest-for-hire services and coerced donations from the targets of demonstrations through a mob-style “protection” racket, according to one of their former lawyers. 

ACORN called it the “muscle for the money” program….

See:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/n
ews/2009/mar/19/hill-panel-testi
mony-to-accuse-acorn-of-mob-tactic/

Visit Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/23/this-court-brought-to-y
ou-byacorn/

Resistance grows to Obama’s bigger government

March 22, 2009

“We’re in the midst of a huge political battle, which is being obscured behind a financial crisis,” said Bruce Kogut, professor of ethics and corporate governance at Columbia University. “If the financial crisis wasn’t here we’d be having this battle anyway.”

“The question I think we need to figure out as a country is what is the proper role of government?” said David Moss, professor of economic history at Harvard Business School.

By Tabassum Zakaria
Reuters

Regulation of the financial system to contain risk has not been adequate or effective, he said. “So on the financial front we want to try to find a Goldilocks scenario of not too much and not too little.”

Obama administration officials have had to fend off accusations they were too easy on the financial industry, after the insurance giant AIG paid out millions of dollars in bonuses after accepting billions of dollars in taxpayer funds.

CHARGES OF SOCIALISM

Airing charges of socialism, opponents have sought to turn public opinion against Obama’s big spending policies, including a record $3.55 trillion budget proposed for next year and a $787 billion economic stimulus package.

In the United States calling someone a socialist is often an insult, striking at the heart of American individualism and raising the fear of government fingers in everyone’s business.

The word’s powerful negative connotation prompted Obama to call The New York Times back after an interview to belatedly respond to a question on whether he was a socialist.

“It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question,” Obama said, defending his policies as consistent with free-market principles.

“The fact that we’ve had to take these extraordinary measures and intervene is not an indication of my ideological preference, but an indication of the degree to which lax regulation and extravagant risk-taking has precipitated a crisis,” he said.

Read it all:
http://www.reuters.com/article/n
ewsOne/idUSTRE52L0J820090322

Obama the centrist, pragmatic problem-solver is gone: now liberal spendathon, no accountability

March 19, 2009

Obama is pursuing a traditional liberal agenda…. support of the $787 billion stimulus bill, his $3.6 trillion budget proposal, his tax proposals, his health care proposals, his environmental proposals, his flexibility on earmarks …. Where did my old Bro Go?

Now we have a liberal president, a teflon president, a telegenic president and a telepromter president.

And we are about to have a confiscatory 90 percent tax president and congress.

Never mind that the AIG bonuses were legal, protected by the “stimulus” written by this congress and signed by this president.  Ooops.  We goofed so you’ll pay.  The consequences are all yours: please excuse the president, congress, Treasury and Fed…..

A bait and switch president….

Welcome to the New America.

News at eleven followed by Jay Leno and Barack on the National Barack Channel….

Obama, Pelosi: Anything to Win

Obama, Congress, Treasury, Fed: Shameful Mismanagement of Your Money, Recovery

 Did Obama White House Fuel AIG Bonus Mess To Enact Tougher Rules With Public Support, “Outrage”?

Fed to pump another $1 trillion into U.S. economy “from thin air”

******************

By Byron York
The Examiner

In September 2008, during the first debate between John McCain and Barack Obama, McCain said his Democratic opponent had “the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate — it’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”

The “most liberal” critique was a staple of Republican talking points. And it had some basis in fact: A survey by the nonpartisan National Journal found Obama’s record in 2007, the year he began running for president, “the most liberal in the Senate.”

Obama rejected the charge.  “This is all old politics,” he said in February 2008. “Those old categories don’t work, and they’re preventing us from solving the problems that the American people want us to solve.”

From that, the image of Obama as a centrist, pragmatic problem-solver was born. It was an image that would last through the campaign, and through the election, and all the way until Inauguration Day.

But now, after nearly two months of the Obama administration, more and more voters are wondering: Is the Barack Obama they voted for the same Barack Obama who now occupies the Oval Office?

Early signs — Obama’s support of the $787 billion stimulus bill, his $3.6 trillion budget proposal, his tax proposals, his health care proposals, his environmental proposals, his flexibility on earmarks — suggest that Obama does, in fact, fit into those “old categories” he once rejected.

Obama is pursuing a traditional liberal agenda. If he continues to walk that path, the question will become why anyone ever believed he would do otherwise.

Well, for one, he was a great candidate, and McCain was not. Beyond that, though, Obama was what political strategists call an “aspirational candidate.” He represented something that voters aspired to be: Part of an America that was good enough, and far enough removed from its racial past, to elect a strong candidate who was also an African-American.

The feeling touched liberals and conservatives alike. On the right, conservatives who opposed Obama still expressed happiness that he was a serious contender.  A few went beyond that, giving rise to the much-discussed “Obamacon” phenomenon.

“Having a first-class temperament and a first-class intellect, President Obama will surely understand that traditional-left politics aren’t going to get us out of this pit we’ve dug for ourselves,” wrote Christopher Buckley, son of conservative icon William F. Buckley, when he endorsed Obama in October.

Just a few weeks of the Obama administration caused Buckley to wonder if he had judged Obama correctly. Another admirer, the New York Times columnist David Brooks, wrote this month of having been forced “to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was.”

They’re not alone. Right now, Americans who feel a creeping sense of buyer’s remorse about Obama are still in the minority; his job approval rating is still high, and his personal approval rating is higher.

But Obama knows what might come. Back in early 2008, when he found himself in trouble over his 20-year relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama said plaintively, “I may not know him as well as I thought.” Now, Obama’s fear is that voters might be thinking the same thing.

Related:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/
03/19/first-they-came-for-aig-bonuses/

Obama Wants You To Trust Markets and Government; But He Offers to Ignore AIG Contracts

March 17, 2009

The President of the United States has demonstrated that he and his advisors care lttle for contracts, American free enterprise and good thinking.

President Barack Obama and his top aides expressed outrage at reports that AIG went ahead with $165 million in bonuses even though the company received more than $170 billion in federal rescue money. Obama directed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to see whether there was any way to retrieve or stop the bonus money — a move designed as much for public relations as for public policy, Philip Elliott of the Associated Press reported.

“I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” Obama said Monday in announcing a plan to help small businesses.

Here is how we justify the “outrage.”  The workers at AIG have contracts.  Same as you, me and Barack Obama.

The real outrage here is what the president is proposing: that he has the power to re-write contracts after the ink is dried and the money is paid.

What happened to the courts?  Did I miss something?  Did the president sleep though “Contract Law I” at Harvard?  Oh, he was writing his book….
.
Communists understand this.  If you lived under communism or studied their practices — you do too.

When my wife, who lived through the communist takeover in Vietnam, heard President Obama say the U.S. taxpayers should ignore legal contracts and not pay the AIG bonuses, she flew into a rage and said, “This is how it starts.  This is how the state sweeps away everything involved in legal free enterprise.”

Related:
 Republican Grassley on AIG execs: Quit or suicide

And if this is the thinking of the president’s economic wise guys like Geithner, Summers, Volker; to go and get $163 million legally spent under contract while the world economy is still in a shambles, and further diminish investor confidence in the process — we are in a hell of a fix.
.
Or is the President’s announcemnt on the AIG bonuses just political BS dreamed up by Rahm Emanuel?

Did someone check this “go tackle AIG and get back the bonus money” idea with Bernanke?

Confidence is gone Mister President and you have yourself to blame.  You didn’t “inherit” this.

This is what happens when you have a president with socialist beliefs, a crisis, a one party congress, and a media that is mostly in love with their president.

The AIG bonus money is 1/2 of 1% of the $170 billion some bailout to AIG.  It is a footnote and should have remained so to a president that just spent $1 billion an hour in his first 50 days in the White House.

His stumulus exceeded $787  billion and the omnibus $410 billion and now he is angry and chasing $163 million because of the public outrage?

Has he lost his mind?

And he wants us to have confidence in Wall Street and invest; and he wants to have confidence in him and government and spend.  And pay our taxes.

Personally, I have doubts.

Next year my Tim Geithner Turbo Tax IRS Tax Form might say: “Line 1, How much is your income?  Line 2: send it in.”

And the president wants us to have so much confidence that we’ll allow him to spend unknown trillions yet: on another stimulus, other bailouts?  Health care?  Energy?  Climate Change? Education?

The real problem here is the government wishing to control too much in some extra-legal thuinking: we gave you money so your prior contracts are void — you should have known that.

Is this what Obama learned at Harvard?

And where will this heavy handed and poor thinking government get this money?  From taxpayers you and me and the unborn.  That’s generaltional theft.

But in the near term we’ll borrow it from China and I’ll bet there are string atached to THAT.  I KNOW there are strings attached to that.  The communists invented the voiding of contracts.

****************

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

The White House says it’s looking at restrictions on some $30 billion in taxpayers’ money approved to help American International Group as the administration tries to reclaim or block millions of dollars in bonuses the struggling company awarded executives.

President Barack Obama and his top aides expressed outrage at reports that AIG went ahead with $165 million in bonuses even though the company received more than $170 billion in federal rescue money. Obama directed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to see whether there was any way to retrieve or stop the bonus money — a move designed as much for public relations as for public policy.

“I mean, how do they justify this outrage to the taxpayers who are keeping the company afloat?” Obama said Monday in announcing a plan to help small businesses.

The financial bailout program remains politically unpopular and has been a drag on Obama’s new presidency, even though the plan began under his predecessor, President George W. Bush. The White House is aware of the nation’s bailout fatigue; hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars have gone to prop up financial institutions that made poor decisions, while many others who have done no wrong have paid the price.

News that AIG still needs billions in taxpayer dollars to prevent a collapse did little to build public confidence, Obama aides acknowledged. Seeking to turn the public tide, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs aggressively criticized AIG and said administration officials were working to put strict limits on the next $30 billion installment bound for the company.

“Treasury has instruments that can address the excessive retention bonuses, and add provisions to ensure that taxpayers are made whole,” Gibbs said.

The AIG news overshadowed what Obama’s aides had hoped to spend the first part of the week discussing: billions of dollars to help the nation’s small businesses in the hopes of getting credit flowing again. Obama heaped praise on the little guys of American industry, often overshadowed in the blitz of government bailouts.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90317/ap_on_bi_ge/obama_economy

http://michellemalkin.com/2009
/03/17/aig-derangement-syndrome/

Related:
Obama Plans to Charge Wounded Heroes for Treatment

Why Taxpayers Should Pay the AIG Bonuses; Obama is Dead Wrong On This
.
AIG Bonus Caper Demonstrates Obama Administration Weak Thinking
.
Stimulus: Way Fewer Jobs Than You Thought
.
 Obama Tells “Turbo Tax” Geither To Get Back AIG Bonus Money; Dumb and Dumber

 Obama: Really Want to “Fix Schools”? Try The China Or Singapore Model
.
Thowing Money Around Isn’t Always the Cure

http://kreuzer33.wordpress.com/2009/0
3/16/white-house-goes-after-aig-bonus-payments/

Socialist Former CNN Reporter Wins Election in El Salvador; “Yes We Could”

March 16, 2009

The world really is heading toward a more socialist utopia: make no mistake about that.

Mauricio Funes, a former television reporter, declared himself the winner before F.M.L.N. campaign workers chanting “yes, we could” at the Sheraton Hotel as supporters on the street waved flags and honked car horns in celebration.

“This is the happiest night of my life,” Mr. Funes said. “And I hope it is also the night of greatest hope for El Salvador.”

Funes’ victory ended a 20-year hold on the presidency by the right-leaning ARENA.

“Now the ARENA party passes into opposition,” Funes said. “ARENA … can be assured that it will be listened to and respected.”

El Salvador now has everything many of its neighbors, even its notable northern neighbor, has: bipartisanship, transparency, hope, “yes we can,” and socialism.

El Salvador joins other Latin American countries that have elected leftist leaders in recent years — Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Argentina, Honduras, Guatemala, Ecuador and Brazil.

New York Times:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/
17/world/americas/17salvador.ht
ml?_r=1&hp

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WOR
LD/americas/03/15/el.salvador.ele
ction/index.html

“If socialism signifies a political and economic system in which the government controls a large part of the economy and redistributes wealth to produce social equality, then I think it is safe to say the likelihood of its making a comeback any time in the next generation is close to zero,” wrote Francis Fukuyama, author of The End of History, in Time magazine in 2000.

Socialism Is Alive in Europe:
http://www.newstatesman.com/eu
rope/2008/12/socialist-party-socialism

Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

March 15, 2009

Good for Politico and CNN for going after and getting this interview and story…..

John Harris of Politico said today on Fox News, “Even people of his own party are wondering how we can advance the Obama agenda.”

********************

Vice President Cheney charged Sunday morning on CNN that President Obama is using the recession “to try to justify” what is probably the largest expansion of federal authority “in the history of the Republic.”

By Mike Allen
Politico

“I worry a lot that that they’re using the current set of economic difficulties to try to justify a massive expansion in the government, and much more authority for the government over the private sector,” Cheney said in his first television interview since leaving office. “I don’t think that’s good. I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem.”

Speaking to host John King on “State of the Union,” Cheney said he think the programs Obama has proposed “in health care, in energy and so forth constitute probably the biggest – or one of the biggest – expansions of federal authority over the private economy in the history of the Republic.”

“I worry very much that what is being done here is saying, ‘We’ve got an economic crisis, there’s we’re fundamentally the health program in America,’” Cheney said. “I don’t think that’s right.”

Cheney has been largely out of sight for the past two months, as he and his wife, Lynne, set up their new home in Northern Virginia. But as he was in a recent interview with POLITICO, Cheney is still free with his opinions and much more aggressive in defending the administration’s legacy than President Bush has been so far.

Cheney pushed back against effort by Democrats to blame President Bush for the current economic valley, saying the Bush administration is not responsible “for the creation of those circumstances.”

“I think there’s no question but what the economic circumstances that he inherited are difficult ones,” Cheney said. We said that before we left. I don’t think you can blame the Bush administration for the creation of those circumstances. It’s a global financial problem.

Read the rest:
http://www.politico.com/new
s/stories/0309/20013.html

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLI
TICS/03/15/cheney.interview/ind
ex.html#cnnSTCText

"We've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do," ex-Vice President Dick Cheney says Sunday about Iraq.

“We’ve accomplished nearly everything we set out to do,” ex-Vice President Dick Cheney says Sunday about Iraq.

Cheney also worried about “terrorism” and “terrorists,” words Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano can’t even say….
http://spectator.org/archives/2009/0
3/13/eyes-shut-at-homeland-security

Related:

Obama wants to ‘discuss’ with Taliban? Taliban threatens to kill aid workers

 Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

 Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Obama: Fire Geithner

 Obama: Stop Thinking About What Might Be Gained; Think What May Certainly Be Lost

Obama’s mythical mystique of government and science and their inherent moral benevolence

March 13, 2009

Presiden Obama is now on track to federalize schools, health care, some aspects of the media, science and just about every aspect of your American life.

Alarmist?

Maybe.  You judge for yourself.

The point is: some people do not believe that federal government rules for our schools will lead to better education across the board.

Some people do not believe that government control of health care will really mean better “care.”

Some people do not believe it is time to tax coal and gas and oil companies while we harvest the wind….There might still be too much hot air in the energy/climate change discussion….

Some people no longer beliive our national intelligence system: they said there were weapons of mass destruction is Iraq, they missed the fall of the Soviet Union, they now say what about Iran and nukes and the president wanted an anti-Isreal and pro-China guy named Freeman for a key intelligence job. Politicized?  Maybe.

Some people do believe that the spending, taxing and socialist trends we are now seeing will lead to a bankrupt America with the social life the Netherlands or Sweden.

And some people suspect that when the White House Chief of Staff engineers an assault on a private American citizen speaking his mind (Rush Limbaugh) and some folks talk about  ……  free speech will be curtailed before long.

I no longer believe in the benevolence of government.  And I surely suspect trouble in the promised benevolence of science, government and stem cell research….

And I just don’t believe in the promises of Barack Obama: the post-partisan, post-racial hope-filled future was a lie….

*****************

By Charles Krauthammer
The Washington Post
March 13, 2009

Last week, the White House invited me to a signing ceremony overturning the Bush (43) executive order on stem cell research. I assume this was because I have long argued in these columns and during my five years on the President’s Council on Bioethics that, contrary to the Bush policy, federal funding should be extended to research on embryonic stem cell lines derived from discarded embryos in fertility clinics.

I declined to attend. Once you show your face at these things you become a tacit endorser of whatever they spring. My caution was vindicated.

Preident Bush had restricted federal funding for embryonic stem cell research to cells derived from embryos that had already been destroyed (as of his speech of Aug. 9, 2001). While I favor moving that moral line to additionally permit the use of spare fertility clinic embryos, President Obama replaced it with no line at all. He pointedly left open the creation of cloned — and noncloned sperm-and-egg-derived — human embryos solely for the purpose of dismemberment and use for parts.
I am not religious. I do not believe that personhood is conferred upon conception. But I also do not believe that a human embryo is the moral equivalent of a hangnail and deserves no more respect than an appendix. Moreover, given the protean power of embryonic manipulation, the temptation it presents to science and the well-recorded human propensity for evil even in the pursuit of good, lines must be drawn. I suggested the bright line prohibiting the deliberate creation of human embryos solely for the instrumental purpose of research — a clear violation of the categorical imperative not to make a human life (even if only a potential human life) a means rather than an end.

On this, Obama has nothing to say. He leaves it entirely to the scientists. This is more than moral abdication. It is acquiescence to the mystique of “science” and its inherent moral benevolence. How anyone as sophisticated as Obama can believe this within living memory of Mengele and Tuskegee and the fake (and coercive) South Korean stem cell research is hard to fathom.

That part of the ceremony, watched from the safe distance of my office, made me uneasy. The other part — the ostentatious issuance of a memorandum on “restoring scientific integrity to government decision-making” — would have made me walk out.

Restoring? The implication, of course, is that while Obama is guided solely by science, Bush was driven by dogma, ideology and politics.

What an outrage. Bush’s nationally televised stem cell speech was the most morally serious address on medical ethics ever given by an American president. It was so scrupulous in presenting the best case for both his view and the contrary view that until the last few …

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy
n/content/article/2009/03/12/AR20
09031202764.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03
/12/laughingstock-president-doom-
does-a-180-cancels-fear-mongering/

Obama’s Hope, Post-Partisan, Post-Racial Promises Were All BS

Never Wrong? U.S. Intelligence Says Iran Does Not Nave Any Highly Enriched Uranium
.
http://johnbrodigan.com/2009/03/12/epi
sode-v-the-republicans-strike-back/

Republicans: If You Can’t Agree On Core Values Now, Commit Harakiri

Why Obama’s left leaning is no tactical feint

March 9, 2009

Obama: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question.”

http://washingtontimes.com/weblogs/joe-
curl/2009/Mar/08/obama-makes-oval-
office-call-reporters/

Well, President Obama may be just shocked that some think he is far left and maybe even socialist; but some that wonder about his socialism include FT and The Wall Street Journal….

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/oba
ma-im-not-a-socialist-i-just-play-one-on-tv/

Can Democracy Fail With Obama’s Socialist Help?

Obama Doesn’t Understand What Many Americans Are Thinking

*************

By Clive Crook
FT

On this page last week I argued that Barack Obama’s first budget showed him to be more of a left-leaning liberal than I and many others – sceptics and admirers alike – had previously supposed. People I respect have accused me of going off the deep end about this, or of neglecting Mr Obama’s tactical finesse, or both.

Mr Obama is calling for little that he did not promise in the campaign, I am reminded, so he cannot be accused of springing a surprise. I welcome many of the budget’s main elements, notably healthcare reform and the cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and the president made it clear all along that he wished to reverse the Bush tax cuts for the high paid. So the revelation that Mr Obama is a progressive liberal must arise from the proposal to curb high earners’ income-tax deductions. That was a surprise, but a small matter: hence the charge that I am getting carried away.

Alternatively, I am told, Mr Obama is playing a shrewder game. Like any good negotiator, he has adopted a maximalist opening position. He expects to be walked back from it, ending up where he wanted to be in the first place, with a more centrist plan than the one he pitched.

An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall street. ...

On the first point, the tax-deduction proposal is not so small. Instead of applying the highest marginal rates of tax to each deduction, the plan would apply a 28 per cent rate. This is equivalent to a tax increase of roughly $35bn (€28bn, £25bn) a year on households earning more than $250,000. Hardly chicken feed, it is roughly half of the amount raised by returning high earners’ marginal rates to their pre-Bush levels.

Not everybody would regard two-earner households with an income of $250,000 a year as rich; and many of the taxpayers in question have seen their retirement savings, college funds and housing equity destroyed. The scandal of widening inequality that still animates the Democrats’ thinking is a story about the top fraction of one per cent of the income distribution, not the top end of the middle class. Also, it is out of date: as though the housing and stock market meltdowns had never happened, the budget raises taxes on the “rich” to where they were before the Bush administration – and then some.

Granted, other things being equal, reducing the value of tax deductions – not just for the highest earners, but for every taxpayer – makes sense. It broadens the tax base and requires lower marginal tax rates for any given amount of revenue raised. But look at Mr Obama’s proposal in context. He is not broadening the base to lower marginal rates. He is raising marginal rates on the highly paid, and increasing their effective tax rate by rolling back deductions. The measure is an unexpected element of redistribution in a package that was highly redistributive to begin with.

Standing back, the budget’s two great innovations are healthcare reform, an enormous undertaking only partly paid for in the plan, and cap and trade, a big new source of revenue. A centrist administration might have married the two – arguing, correctly, that a public investment as costly and far-reaching as healthcare reform should impose some costs on most taxpayers, not just on a few million at the top. Instead, the revenues from cap and trade are spent mainly on wage subsidies and tax cuts tilted toward the working poor. The down-payment on the cost of healthcare reform is financed by an additional tax increase on the rich.

A centrist administration would have thought about how to create a political constituency for cost control in health, and in public spending more generally. The administration rightly emphasises that healthcare cost control is the single biggest challenge in fiscal policy. Without it, public debt will stay on its present unsustainable path until it hits the wall of a new financial crisis. The need to create a wider constituency for fiscal discipline is the best argument for associating healthcare reform with a new and broadly based tax. Instead, the budget makes this already small constituency even smaller, telling almost all taxpayers they can have everything for nothing.

This message comes through loud and clear in the budget taken as a whole. Mr Obama is not a centrist – unless the second point is correct and I am underestimating Mr Obama’s tactical intelligence. His political skills are undeniable. Yet I find the view that you make a phoney offer and aim to be bargained down difficult to credit.

The question is, who is Mr Obama supposed to be bargaining with? If the answer were a Republican-controlled Congress, this theory might be worth entertaining. Scare conservatives with a pitch for social transformation – a new New Deal – then settle for a judicious nudge to the left. But the bargains Mr Obama needs to strike are not with Republicans, who for the moment are clueless, leaderless and powerless. The people he needs to do business with are members of his own party – and unless I am much mistaken, those people are liberals.

Read the rest:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/328430d0-0
c0c-11de-b87d-0000779fd2ac.html

Related:
Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Stock Market

NYT: After March 6 Economic News, “2009 is Probably a Lost Cause”

Obama’s First Weeks: Economic Disaster, Socialist Agenda, Congressional Pork, Limbaugh Attacked, and “We Won”

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/
03/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

Venezuela’s Chavez Urges Obama, U.S. Down Socialist Path

March 7, 2009

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez comments on U.S. President Barack Obama and the state of the U.S. economy. He made the remarks today on Venezuelan state television.

“It’s regrettable the crisis that the U.S. is living through. Millions of workers are being left in the street, thousands of companies are closing, in the U.S. there isn’t a single new infrastructure project. Go look for a highway there, the country has gone bust.”

“Now President Obama arrived with some announcements, hopefully, but the capitalist model and its perverse values have failed.”

“I recommend to Obama — they’re criticizing him because they say he’s moving towards socialism — come Obama, ally with us on the path to socialism, it’s the only road.”

“Imagine a socialist revolution in the U.S. Nothing is impossible.”

By Dan Cancel, Bloomberg