Pundits are making a great deal out of Obama's ad-lib statement during his speech on financial reform in Quincy, Ill., about profits and earnings. But his prepared remarks are just as revealing, even if not obviously so, of his profit aversion and his belief in government control over the private economy.
In his prepared remarks, Obama said: "Now, we're not doing this (financial reform) to punish these firms or begrudge success that's fairly earned. We don't want to stop them from fulfilling their responsibility to help grow our economy." But live, he added, among other things, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."
Let me first address his prepared comments, about which I haven't heard much criticism. He assured us he wasn't pushing the financial reform bill -- his latest socialist (actually, it's closer to fascist, but why pick nits?) monstrosity -- to punish success that's fairly earned.
Well, why do you suppose he needs to assure us he's not intending to "punish"? A little subconscious admission perchance? Remember, he protests that he's a fierce advocate of the free market. Remember also that he is allowing the Bush tax cuts -- because they are "tax cuts for the wealthy," who don't pay "their fair share" -- to expire, not to mention the host of other taxes he is imposing on the "rich" -- and many on the rest of Americans, too, despite his pledge not to.
Please put aside for now the outrageousness of this ongoing lie designed to divide America by income groups and to win Democratic votes through propaganda and demagoguery. Of course the rich -- especially the top 1 percent, 5 percent and 10 percent -- pay a higher percentage of income taxes than the poor and also pay more in actual taxes, while the bottom half of income earners pay a negligible amount.
The point for now is that Obama says he wants to rectify the tax code to make the "wealthy" start paying their fair share, as if they don't already. And you don't need to be Freud to realize his prepared remarks reveal that his true motives include punishment. You just need to have paid attention to his statements and behavior since he bopped onto the national stage.
The next noteworthy phrase from his prepared declaration is "fairly earned." Fairly earned? Who is he to say what is fairly earned, unless he's talking about legally earned? But it's obvious he is not. He's talking about his own value judgments. It wouldn't matter so much what he or any other socialist-leaning pol thought about what is fairly earned if he didn't think he had a right, nay, duty to assert some kind of regulatory control over what is fair. But he does think that and is attempting to act on it -- actually has acted on it with TARP companies and beyond.
So though it's big of him to assure us that he'll keep his big-government hands off "fairly earned" income, what about what he doesn't think is fairly earned -- according to his values? I can guarantee you that Obama and free marketers will never agree as to what is and isn't fairly earned or when, if ever, it is government's business to insinuate itself into the issue at all.
Next, it is doubtful a free marketer would talk about a financial institution's fulfillment of its "responsibility to help grow our economy." Banks are obviously indispensable to economic growth, but they are for-profit institutions that have no duty to operate at losses any more than insurance companies -- though Obama begrudges their profits, too, as he proved in his slanderous onslaught against the entire industry and his distortions about their profitability. Obama's characterization of banks' role in terms of a duty to the collective economy is just more of the same -- an affirmation of his belief that if banks or other businesses are not contributing enough to the economy or whatever else, in his view, it's government's place to step in.
Of course it's none of his business as president to pass on whether someone has made too much. But nor is it any president's business to punish the wealthy or to involve himself in whether private-sector firms "fairly earn" their keep.
There is one other peculiar thing about Obama's inclusion of all of these remarks in the context of his speech on financial reform -- again, an unintended revelation. Obama has not been promoting this bill as having anything to do with profits, but instead as authorization for the government to step in to superintend the orderly dissolution of firms that are "too big to fail" in order to prevent a cascading effect on the entire financial sector. It is enormously significant that on the stump, he spontaneously talked about profits in a bill that is supposed to have nothing to do with that subject. Obama just can't help himself, whether on or off the teleprompter.