Recently I wrote a piece noting that Obama's economic policies are less about fixing the economy and more about retributive justice -- a pernicious form of wealth redistribution designed to achieve a liberal social agenda. This agenda is at the heart of Obama's philosophical orientation -- that same "spreading the wealth around" view that he inadvertently let slip to "Joe the Plumber" on the campaign trail. Many didn't pay attention to this off-hand comment -- but we know now just how revealing it was. Daniel Henninger reinforces the retributive justice argument in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal today and highlights the underlying theory that alights the Obama redistribution plan. He cites a graph created by Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, French economists who "are rock stars of the intellectual left." Their specialty is "earnings inequality" and "wealth concentration" -- code words for socialist theory designed to validate confiscatory economic policies. It turns out that Piketty and Saez are for Obama what Arthur Laffer was to Ronald Reagan. Perhaps it tells you all you need to know about Barack Obama that his economic philosophy comes from French economists -- that nation of stagnant growth, high taxes and huge public sector unionization. That in itself should be troubling enough.
Piketty and Saez have provided the Obama Administration with their rationale for "soaking the rich". See the following graph:
"As described in Mr. Obama's budget, these two economists have shown that by the end of 2004, the top 1% of taxpayers "took home" more than 22% of total national income. This trend, Fig. 9 notes, began during the Reagan presidency, skyrocketed through the Clinton years, dipped after George Bush beat Al Gore, then marched upward. Widening its own definition of money-grubbers, the budget says the top 10% of households "held" 70% of total wealth."
This kind of income inequality is anathema to those who see an equality of outcomes in society. Never mind, of course, that the top 1% of earners pay almost 40% of all Federal income taxes to begin with, and that from these earners come a huge percentage of the jobs that fuel the economy. Socialists like Piketty and Saez would prefer that everyone dumb down to a common denominator where so-called "winners" and "losers" were much closer together. They would prefer that everyone be mediocre rather than have a few big winners who raise the tide for everyone. And it is exactly the economic philosophy that Obama has now embraced. Massive wealth transfer as social policy.
And it matters not that it is bad economic policy, because fixing the economy is a poor second to the need to dumb America down. In Obama's own words:
"While middle-class families have been playing by the rules, living up to their responsibilities as neighbors and citizens, those at the commanding heights of our economy have not.
Prudent investments in education, clean energy, health care and infrastructure were sacrificed for huge tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected.
There's nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong when we allow the playing field to be tilted so far in the favor of so few. . . . It's a legacy of irresponsibility, and it is our duty to change it."
So if you made a lot of money you somehow cheated -- not living up to your responsibilities, even though you paid your fair share of taxes in what is already a highly progressive tax code.
What a tremendously offensive statement.
This is class warfare pure and simple. Or, as Henninger says, "the primary goal is a massive re-flowing of "wealth" from the top toward the bottom, to stop the moral failure they see in the budget's "Top One Percent of Earners" chart.
And for those top earners -- the engine of our economy -- there will be blood.