He is unwilling to practice for himself what he wishes to demand of others. And in so doing, he is exposing for all to see the lack of importance his own agenda is--even to himself.
Let me lay it out for you.
In the 2008 campaign, then Senator Obama repeatedly scoffed at the tax rates for the majority of the small business class of our nation. He repeatedly chided those in the tax bracket that housed the biggest number of small business owners, that they would need to do "more," that everybody should, "do their share."
He also promised repeatedly that if elected President he would increase those tax rates, that he would force those in that bracket to do more, and that it would be the true measure of patriotism to do so.
He spoke in glowing terms of returning the tax rates in his administration to the levels of the Clinton era, and challenging those earning above $250,000 a year to embrace their dutiful responsibilities to pay 39% federal income taxes (not the then 35% under President Bush.)
Last week in his speech to the American people, where he released yet his fourth attempt at trying to define how he would reduce the deficit, he re-engaged these ideas of those in the top earnings bracket paying what he refers to constantly as "their fair share." He insisted that he personally didn't need "yet another tax cut." And he scoffed at the idea that any deficit reduction plan would include such things.
To hear him rail against those who earn big paychecks one could only come away convinced that this was a President who was as committed to this cause of taxation to reduce the deficit as any history had ever seen.
And then we saw his tax return.
For 2010 President Obama earned well more than $250,000 in total family income for the year. In fact the Obama household--after every loophole, donation, and tax exempt charitable donation had been subtracted--recorded a revenue earnings of $1,700,000 and change. To repeat, this wasn't gross earnings, this was adjusted earnings. This is what he was responsible to pay taxes on.
For those of you who could not do the immediate math that's $1,450,000 above the $250,000 that he wished to tax at the maximum level under the Clinton era--39%.
From the reports concerning the President's tax returns he paid roughly $454,000 and change in federal taxes. Sounds like a lot doesn't it?
It is... to most people. But on taxable income of $1,700,000 it only works out to be a tad more than 26%. Woah! Wait a minute... The President--who had a taxable income of $1,700,000--paid what?
Had he voluntarily paid the rate he wished everyone else in his own income bracket to pay (39%) in federal taxes, he SHOULD have paid $663,000.
But wait there's more... To top off the sundae with a cherry, President Obama got a refund back from the government of $12,000.
This week following his deficit reduction speech--or as I like to call it--the Obama 2012 kick-off event--the President made a series of additional stops across the country pitching the idea of taxing people in his own income bracket much more in taxes than they currently pay. I wonder how many of those in each audience even had a clue that what President Obama practices is about $200,000 less per year than what he preaches--with a $12,000 rebate on top?
Like the phony group of "millionaires" who came out to hold press conferences after the President's "deficit reduction" address and claimed they wished to be paying more in taxes, let me remind the President as I did them: the IRS does take donations.
In fact here's the address: "Internal Revenue Service, Washington DC, 20001"
In my brand new hardback from Thomas Nelson titled "No He Can't", I examine carefully the hypocrisy of what the current President does vs. what he says in multiple arenas, it is designed to be great reading in the run up to debate over the deficit reduction season--or what I like to call: Campaign 2012--just in front of us.
So Mr. President before you give your next speech on those in your own income bracket "ponying up" and "doing more" when will you be cutting your own check and aligning your actions with your words?
Leadership is not made up from purely the cult of personality. It is not doing one thing, while saying something else.
It is acting with clarity when crises present themselves, and for now it is something the American executive branch sorely lacks.