American presidents have advanced redistributionist policies before, but none has used Marxist class-war rhetoric as routinely as Barack Obama.
Obama has used the words "millionaire" and "billionaire" in just about every political speech he has made since August -- and although Obama himself is a millionaire, he never uses those words except pejoratively.
"Millionaires and billionaires" in Obama's lexicon are people who should be taxed more and held up as objects for public antipathy.
"Millionaires and billionaires," he contends, are the main constituency of a boneheaded Republican Party and constitute a class of Americans whose interests are contrary to "ordinary folks" and "working folks" -- as if ordinary folks who work hard and have a good product to sell are not precisely the people who have become millionaires and billionaires in the free society we have maintained until now.
In August, at a campaign event for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Obama said America had rejected what he characterized as the "philosophy" of the Republican Party.
"That's why I'm president," he said. "Their basic philosophy goes something like this: We're going to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires, folks who don't need it, weren't even asking for it. And we're going to cut rules for special interests, gut regulations that protect clean air and clean water and things that most of us value. And then you're going to cut working folks loose to fend for themselves. So, if you can't find a job or you can't afford college or don't have health insurance, tough luck -- you are on your own."
At a Sept. 23 Democratic Party event, Obama said of the recent recession: "And all of this was brought to you by, was underwritten by, a very specific ideology that basically said, we're going to cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires; we're going to cut rules for the most powerful interests in our society; we're going to cut ordinary folks loose to fend for themselves -- and somehow, magically, we're going to grow and we're going to prosper."
At an Oct. 1 campaign event, he said, "For the last decade, the Republicans in Washington subscribed to a very simple philosophy: You cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires."
"And basically," Obama said, "the idea was that if you had blind faith in the market, if you let corporations play by their own rules, if you let everybody else fend for themselves, including young people, including the next generation, then somehow America would grow and prosper. That was the theory. Now, look, here's what we know: The philosophy failed."
In plain English, Obama's message is this: Americans need to depend on government more and freedom less. Americans should look to government to secure them a job, a college education and health care. To begin paying for it all, government should tax "millionaires and billionaires" more than they are already taxed. For the "ordinary" and "working" folks, it will be a free ride.
Carried into actual policies -- with Obamacare as its starting point -- Obama's class-war vision will destroy not only our nation's economy but its unique culture of can-do individualism.
Specifically, Obama would like to increase taxes on "millionaires and billionaires" now by not extending the George W. Bush tax cuts on households earning more than $250,000 per year when those tax cuts expire at the end of this year.
The real and immediate economic cost of Obama's contemplated tax increase, according to the analysis of the Congressional Budget Office, would be slower economic growth and job creation. "As CBO's reported before," CBO Director Doug Elmendorf told the Senate Budget Committee last week, "permanently or temporarily extending all or part of the expiring income tax cuts would boost output and employment in the next few years relative to what would occur under current law where those tax cuts expire.
"A permanent extension, whether full or partial, would provide a larger boost to income and employment in the next two years than would a temporary extension," Elmendorf said. "And a full extension would provide a larger boost than with the corresponding partial extension."
The downside, CBO contends, is that in the longer run the tax cuts might reduce expected increases in federal revenue, and with federal spending escalating at a rapid pace due to the escalating cost of welfare-state entitlements, revenues would not keep pace with federal spending and thus drive an already massive national debt to unsustainable levels.
The truth is this: Even before Obama came along with his socialist vision for expanding government dependency, the welfare state was already bankrupting America. Imposing higher taxes on the "rich" to forestall that bankruptcy will only further stall the economy and hasten our economic day of reckoning.
America needs political leaders who will take this debate straight to Obama: It is time to cut taxes on everybody, including the rich, and, yes, let ordinary and working folks fend for themselves -- just as Americans have done since 1776.