**Posted by Phineas
And “unneeded,” of course, is defined by Obama. Historian John Steele Gordon noticed this appalling assertion during the President’s news conference two days ago:
And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.
That is just awful. I’m surprised he wasn’t wearing a red “Che” shirt.
Gordon scores a quick TKO when exposes Obama’s economic folly. Here are the key paragraphs, but do read the whole thing:
There is, of course, nothing whatever stopping Barack Obama, taxpaying citizen, from donating his excess income to the United States Treasury. But his statement demonstrates an astonishing economic illiteracy. To be sure, someone earning a great deal of money has an income greater than what he spends. You can only spend so much on luxurious living however hard you try, a reality so rich with comic possibilities that a 1902 novel called Brewster’s Millions has been made into a movie no fewer than nine times.
But, unlike Scrooge McDuck, the rich do not put the excess in a vast money bin and frolic about in it. They invest it. What a concept! Where does Obama think new capital comes from, the tooth fairy? It’s nothing more than the excess of income over outgo. Take away the income the rich “don’t need” and spend it on social programs, and capital formation in this country drops to zero.
Along with economic growth, productive new jobs, and a growing middle class. All in the name of a childish, envy-based definition of “fairness.”
But it’s not just revealing of the President’s boneheadedness in economics; it’s also a probably unintentional reminder of his true politics, which are deeply rooted in New York and Chicago’s Socialist communities. This is another “spread the wealth” moment that shows Obama is much more concerned with redistribution than with wealth-creation and that government is the proper vehicle for arranging that redistribution. It fits like a glove with the Progressive notion that boards of government experts are better able to decide how an individual will run his life than is the individual himself, and that includes how to dispose of his own money. And as one’s money is one’s property, it strikes at the very idea of property rights.
And it’s not just “excess money.” If the government can say how much money you don’t need, why not for other forms of property, too? If I have enough money to buy a truck to go with my small car, can Obama say I really don’t need it, and thus take it and give it to someone “in need” out of fairness? What about land? If I own two acres of land and someone less successful has none, can the government take half of mine and give it to the other guy, so we’re both equal? (Hello, Kelo…)
Thus we come back to Obama’s “additional income I don’t need.” The income is no longer mine to dispose of as I wish, it is the government’s first and it is the government that decides what I am allowed to keep. This point of view necessarily entails a fundamental denial of individual liberty, of which property rights are a cornerstone, and turns the freeborn citizen into a creature of the State.
Every four years, it seems, we hear “this is the most important election of our lives.” In 2012, I think that may well be true.
PS: I don’t have a problem with government taking money in taxes to fund its necessary and proper functions, though folks can argue about just what those are. But the view held by Obama and the DSA crowd that dominates the Democratic Party in Congress is an utter inversion of everything we were founded on and needs to be called out for what it is — Statism.
PPS: I like Scrooge McDuck.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)