Obama Plays the Rich Pay Tax Card amidst the Poorness of his Stewardship

By Con George-Kotzabasis—February 18, 2012 campaign, obama,

In his State of the Union address President Obama has abandoned the “hope and change” of his past presidential campaign and replaced it with “equality and fairness” for his future one. How is he going to accomplish the noble values of equality and fairness, by changing the tax code that would severely tax the incomes of the rich; by organizing watchdog agencies that would round-up Wall Street miscreants; by sending the seals to capture Chinese DVD pirates; and by compelling students to stay in high school until the age of 18? The former community organizer-enforcer that threatened bankers in his Chicago days with law suits if they were unwilling to provide loans to non-creditworthy borrowers, is now to enforce the rich to put their pound of flesh on the tax scale weighing at least 30% of their income, according to the “Warren Buffett Rule.” It is by such measures that the physically sprightly moving president will bring with Mercurial speed to the door of every ordinary American the goodies of “equality and fairness.”

Obama cannot run on his record—he barely mentioned in his Union address Obamacare and the stimulus, his major but questionable legislative achievements-but only on a re-run of new false promises. Equality and fairness cannot be achieved by minor legislative measures that he proposes but only by major ones, such as tax reform and entitlement reform, the core measures that would spawn the seeds for the growing of those noble values. The first generates social equity plus economic efficiency, and the second generates social justice plus debt reduction. It is by economic efficiency and debt reduction that the vital spirits of capitalist entrepreneurship will be incentivized and in turn set in motion the productive process that will increase the wealth of society and by spreading it to a greater number of people will reduce inequality and unfairness among Americans.

The taxing of the rich will bring negligible revenue for Obama to accomplish his grandiose scheme of equality and fairness. On the contrary it will sterilize the vital spirits of entrepreneurs and stifle capital investment, especially in conditions of recession, hence retarding economic growth, and indeed, deepening the slump, as Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in his rebuttal of Obama’s State of the Union address.  Therefore Obama’s proposal to tax the rich is another seductive but false promise, like his past promises, by which he is attempting once again to mislead and delude Americans that by taxing those who earn more than a million and by ‘barking’ against Wall Street greed he will create a socially fairer America.

Another central feature of his Union address was the praising of the armed forces for their solidarity and discipline, with which they achieve their great missions, and using them as a template to be adopted and imitated by all Americans, so they too can accomplish their aims in their pursuance of building a more prosperous and equal America. It is good to see the anti-war Obama extolling the virtues of the military and making them a model for the United States. But he overlooks the fact that the virtues of war are not applicable to, and are not, the virtues of civil peace. The qualities of solidarity and discipline are a prerequisite in war for defeating an enemy; but are an obstruction in search of knowledge that enhances techno-scientific economic development. Copernicus and Galileo had to break the disciplinarian regimen of the Catholic Church to make their breakthrough to their great scientific discovery. Great minds and their discoveries do not flourish in the restricted practices of solidarity and discipline but in the spiritual freedom that has no constraints.

One can hardly think that Obama is ignorant or unaware of this distinction. Therefore one must deduce that the admiration of Obama for the military virtues is only a post sop to the warriors of Iraq and Afghanistan, whom before he became president and in the initial stages of his presidency, consider them to be inept and useless in their fight against Islamic terror, and whom he would replace with his soft power policy and highfalutin diplomacy which completely failed to entice either al Qaeda or the Taliban, as well as the regime of terrorist sponsoring Iran, to come to the negotiating table. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The respect of President Obama for the military is shown in his latest proposal of cutting the army by 100,000; by the delayed production of helicopters and stealth jets; and by the elimination of one-tenth of the Air Force’s tactical fighter squadrons. And the savings of these cuts in a budget of over a trillion dollars will be for this year 4.5 billion dollars. It is by such tricks that Obama proposes to reduce the budget spending of the government while at the same time truly reducing the hard power of America that is the sine qua non  in its security and stability, and, indeed, of the rest of the world in our very dangerous times. As for being praised for killing bin Laden what else could he do, once he was informed by the CIA that a highly placed al Qaeda subject was living in the compound with the possibility that this subject might be bin Laden himself, other than sending the seals to kill him? The American electorate would have never forgiven him if, having this knowledge, he had done nothing.

Obama failed in his stewardship as president, due to his wont to imitate the social democratic policies of Europe—Obamacare was his top example—internally to improve the economy and reduce markedly unemployment, and externally in his foreign policy to effectively constrain the rogue states of N. Korea and Iran from continuing their belligerent threats toward the U.S. and the rest of the West, and in particular preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. The latest proposal by Iran to participate in negotiations to discuss its nuclear programme is a ruse on its part with the purpose to check Israel from attacking its nuclear facilities and thus saving its nuclear bomb that is rocked in its cradle. And the Americans according to the statement of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have accepted with alacrity this Iranian proposal without any preconditions. Thus the Iranians have rolled out the Persian carpet of diplomatic deception and subterfuge for the Obama Administration to walk on.   Further, Obama in his attempt to “reset the button” with Russia has been effectively aborted, as exemplified by his inability to persuade the latter either in the case of Libya or Syria not to use its veto in the Security Council. It is for the purpose of covering all the above failures that Obama plays the rich pay tax card amidst the poorness of his stewardship, and in his goal to win a second term by cunningly deceiving Americans once again.

I rest on my oars: your turn now…

An Exchange between Kotzabasis and Professor Varoufakis on Merits and Demerits of Capitalism

The following exchange between me and Professor of  Economics Yanis Varoufakis at Athens University took place on his blog

http://yanisvaroufakis.eu/ about the capitalist system under the post:

Ending 2011with a fable for our times-December 24, 2011

December 24, 2011 at 03:14 #

Kotzabasis says,

Is Amartya Sen’s absolute prosperity and relative inequality of the capitalist system vulgarly to be replaced by Yanis Varoufakis’s “despicable inequality?”

Professor Varoufakis distorts and defames the whole history of the dynamism of entrepreneurial capitalist wealth that shot up the standard of living of the masses to “Himalayan” heights. To claim that capitalist “wealth …needs poverty to flourish,” is just an ornamental academic trapping empty of history and fugitive from serious thought. Capitalism, like everything else in life, was never meant to be “stable” but a process of Schumpeterian “creative destruction.” But this can only be understood and accepted by realists and not by heroic ideologues, like Professor Varoufakis.

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 24, 2011 at 15:32 #

It is always good to encounter intransigent Panglossian views in the post-2008 world. There is something touching about undying faith, even when of the toxic variety.

December 25, 2011 at 01:48 #

Kotzabasis says,

Professor Varoufakis

Are capitalist entrepreneurial creativity, wealth, and prosperity based on “intransigent” “Panglossian” naivety? And is the history of capitalism to be truncated and concentrated naively and un- imaginatively between 2008 and 2011 for you to make your uninspiring and toxic argument?

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 25, 2011 at 11:56 #

No, capitalism’s wonders have nothing to do with Panglossian naïveté. But your determination to portray it as the best of all possible systems exudes it. As for my assessment of capitalism, and your claim that I truncate the latter’s history to a period around 2008, feel free to judge it. But only after you acquaint yourself with it. (For had you read it, eg either of my last two books, you would have realized that I truncate nothing. And that I go to great lengths to analyse capitalism’s contradictions, something that entails a celebration of its achievements as well as an exposition of its failures.) Till you are prepared to become acquainted with what I am really saying, before you attack it, I shall treat you as no more than a minor Panglossian.

Kotzabasis says,

December 26, 2011 at 02:46 #

Professor Varoufakis

Thank you for your advice how to overcome my “minor Panglossian” status. But unfortunately for me I’m bound to retain it, as your crass defamation of capitalism in your POST, hardly incentivized me, to use a term of your “little man” John Howard, to read your books and be acquainted with your thoughts. And indeed, my preference is to be “treated… as a minor Panglossian” than go through the treat to major on your ‘Pandistortions’ and jaundiced strictures on capitalism.

But to come to the gist of the matter in hand, my riposte to you was not to either of your two books, which, as I imply above I have not read. My reply was specifically to your post where you wistfully and wrongfully write, “Should we dare to hope of a new era in which WEALTH NO LONGER NEEDS POVERTY TO FLOURISH,” and of the illusion that “capitalism can be stable” and where you vulgarly and gracelessly contend that capitalism creates “DESPICABLE INEQUALITY,” and in your reply to my first post where you refer to the “post-2008 world.” It might well be that these ‘populist flourishes’ had not meant to be of any intellectual seriousness and their only aim was na deleazei ( to allure) and enthuse the ignorant to rush and become volunteer workers to your construction of your ‘matchsticks’ good society, as a replacement to the infernal deeds of capitalist society. But could one do this at the cost of one’s intellectual integrity?

And it is most surprising that the Gargantuan, indeed, Cyclopean efforts that you have put in your Modest Proposal(MP)—although one must note that Cyclopean efforts without a Ulysses are fated to be wasted efforts—have the aim to save Europe, a system that according to you produces genetically “despicable inequality.” Fortunately, however, for those condemned to this despicable inequality, but unfortunately for you, Andreas Koutras’s fatal Jovian bolts demolished to ashes the MP, from which no contriving number of revisions to it will give rise to a Phoenix solution that will salvage the European Union from its peril.

Lastly, to state that “to analyse capitalism’s contradictions… entails a celebration of its achievements as well as an exposition of its failures,” is to state the obvious.

Professor Varoufakis says,

December 27, 2011 at 04:33 #

Impressed by your dedication to keep knocking down my (according to you) already demolished, and perpetually ridiculous, arguments, as well as by the amount of time you dedicate to a blog (mine) which you consider unworthy, I shall continue to post your comments. Carry on Sir!

Kotzabasis says,

Professor Varoufakis

With your Kazantzakian character I could never imagine that you would not post my comments.