"Sen. Obama, you also oppose Bush tax cuts, and claim that they take money away from the Treasury. But President Kennedy signed across-the-board tax cuts in the 1960s and said, 'It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low -- and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now.' Was he wrong?"
I wrote that a few weeks before the Pennsylvania debate between Sens. Clinton and Obama. And ABC's Charlie Gibson, much to my surprise, asked Sen. Obama a similar question:
"You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, 'I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent.' It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent. And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent. And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?"
Obama at first accepted the premise of Gibson's question -- that capital gains tax cuts actually generate more tax revenue. Obama said he considered the tax hike a matter of "fairness" -- that the rich need to pay more. But then he promptly contradicted himself. The tax hike, said Obama, will actually raise enough revenue to pay for his social programs -- including the government takeover of health care -- and pay down the federal debt. Huh?
Gibson, as well as his co-host, George Stephanopoulos, caught flak from analysts and pundits for asking such a question, and for spending time on "trivial" matters like Obama's 20-year relationship with his racist, anti-Semitic, anti-American, conspiracy-believing pastor.
I agree. We need more substantive questions:
Sen. Clinton, at the risk of sounding sexist, why do carrot cakes taste sweet, but sweet cakes don't taste like carrots?
Sen. Obama, given your concern about America's "chasm" and "divide" about racism, please explain Flavor Flav.
Sen. Clinton, in your commercials, crises always occur at 3 a.m. Can you assure us that when you become president, you'll therefore sleep only during the day, and work only at night?
Sen. Obama, they say the only thing that continues to grow when we get older are our noses and ears. Do you ever wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning, look in the mirror and go, "Yikes!"?
Sen. Clinton, why does former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer have better taste in his mistresses than your husband?
Sen. Obama, black former general manager and coach Isiah Thomas was recently fired. During Thomas' two-year tenure, his team went 33-49 one season, and 23-59 the next -- a franchise record-tying number of losses. A Knicks employee sued for sexual harassment, with the organization reportedly settling the case for $11.5 million. What steps will you take to get Thomas' job back?
Sen. Clinton, in the event you and your husband return to the White House, would you make, to the American people, one solemn promise: all male interns?
Sen. Obama, singer Alicia Keys says the government invented gangsta rap. She said it causes black rappers to kill each other, thus preventing the emergence of another "great black leader" like Tupac Shakur. Does this make Reverends Jackson and Sharpton insecure about their status as "great black leaders," since the government allows them to remain alive?
Sen. Clinton, for her low-rated newscast, CBS' Katie Couric earns $15 million, more than her two network rivals. Since you support equal pay for equal work, should the Justice Department prosecute Couric?
Sen. Obama, whom do you consider angrier at America? Your former pastor, Jeremiah Wright, or your wife, Michelle?
Sen. Clinton, you said that you intend to return civility to the White House. Following that theme, what can you do as president to ensure that Britney Spears always wears panties?
Sen. Obama, Canada, the United States and Mexico are contiguous countries. Yet you insist that NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, causes companies to ship jobs overseas. Will you, before the American people, tell us the grade you received in high school geography?
Sen. Clinton, you say that you intend to fight the war on terror differently than President George W. Bush. There is a rumor that you intend to tell Islamofascists that the 72 brown-eyed virgins all look like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Is this true -- I mean about the rumor?
Sen. Obama, if a tree falls in a forest and lands on a black lumberjack, does Al Sharpton make a sound?
Feel free to use any or all, Charlie. Again, no charge.