Election ’08: Barack Obama says we can’t afford four more years like the last eight. What, exactly, is bad about winning a war on terror, keeping Americans alive and free, and letting us keep more of what we earn?
We weren’t expecting Sen. Obama to thank President Bush for keeping America and its citizens safe from terrorist attack since 9/11, or for winning the war in Iraq and bringing democracy to the heart of the Middle East.
But we hoped for more from The One than a proclamation that he had come to lift us out of the bondage of the Republican Dark Ages.
Delivered in a stadium with a corporate logo and built with capitalist profits, Obama’s acceptance speech was workmanlike as promised, albeit staged on what looked like a movie set left over from the World War II propaganda film, “Triumph Of The Will.”
Still, Obama’s performance was enough to move Oprah Winfrey to tears. “I cried my eyelashes off,” she said. It was enough to make us cry, too.
On Iraq, he said he’d “end this war responsibly.” John McCain would end it in victory. Obama hid the fact that he opposed the surge that defeated the jihadist insurgency.
In January of 2007, Obama introduced legislation in the Senate to have all U.S. troops out of Iraq six months ago. Had we listened to him, there would no free and democratic Iraq today. We’d have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, as Democrats forced us to do in Vietnam, and the jihadist victory would have rivaled the killing fields of Cambodia. Our troops would already be home, their sacrifice in vain.
Obama pledged to “finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban,” forgetting it was President Bush who took the fight to the enemy with Obama in opposition. The fight in Afghanistan isn’t over. But Obama failed to explain why, as chairman of a subcommittee having jurisdiction, he held not a single hearing on a theater of operations he now deems critical.
On the economy, he said: “Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to corporations that ship our jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.” Yet he once proposed doubling the capital gains tax to punish the very risk-takers he now purports to champion.
When it was pointed out during a primary debate that higher capital gains taxes can generate less revenue and discourage economic activity, Obama mumbled something about “fairness.” Thursday night, the code words were “mutual responsibility.” But it’s all about redistributing income.
We need more, not fewer, tax breaks. The average combined federal and state tax rate on corporations is now 50% higher than the average of our international competitors. At 39.3%, it’s second only to Japan’s. In some states, including California and Pennsylvania, it’s the highest in the world.
The average European nation has tax rates on corporate income some 10 percentage points lower than ours. Ireland has a corporate rate of 12.5%. If you were a businessman, where would you locate?
“I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95% of all working families,” Obama said, “because in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.” Apparently Obama thinks you are “working” only if you produce perspiration, not inspiration. The fact is, he’ll raise taxes on everything and everyone, directly and indirectly, open and hidden.
According to a study by the Heritage Foundation, letting the Bush tax cuts expire, as Obama intends, will reduce our annual GDP by $100 billion with the loss of up to 900,000 jobs. Over 10 years, taxes would increase by some $1.7 trillion. For the 116 million Americans paying taxes, that’s an annual tax hike of about $1,800 a year.
Last year, Heritage analyzed the effect of eliminating the Social Security earnings cap, as Obama has also proposed. In the first year alone, the take-home pay of 10.3 million workers would be reduced by an average of $5,650. Taxes would also be raised on four million workers over the age of 50.
Taxes would also be raised on 3 million small-business owners. By 2015, the number of job opportunities lost would exceed 865,000 and personal savings would decline by more than $55 billion.
And if you think this would raise taxes only on the “rich,” think again. According to Heritage, taxes would be raised for 97,065 carpenters, 110,908 police officers, 254,992 nurses, 208,562 post-secondary teachers and 237,000 dentists.
Eliminating the earnings cap would raise taxes for many middle-class families, impose a huge burden on small business, slow the economy and cost jobs. You don’t help the people riding the wagon by punishing the people pulling it.
On energy, Obama said that “in 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East” and that he “will tap our natural gas reserves.” Yet he opposes drilling where huge amounts of oil and natural gas are to be found — in locked-up areas such as ANWR, the Outer Continental Shelf and in federal lands out West.
He also said he will “find ways to safely harness nuclear power.” But we already know the ways countries like France safely store and reprocess nuclear waste. John McCain wants to build 45 new nuclear power plants nationwide by 2030 to meet a demand for electricity that is expected to grow 25% by then.
“Sen. Obama has said that expanding our nuclear power plants ‘doesn’t make sense for America,'” McCain says. “He also says no to nuclear storage and reprocessing. I couldn’t disagree more. I have proposed a plan to build additional nuclear plants. That means new jobs, and that means new energy.
“If we want to enable the technologies of tomorrow like plug-in electric cars, we need electricity to plug into,” McCain said recently at Michigan’s Fermi II nuclear power plant.
Obama also proved once again how wrong he is on foreign policy, taxes, the economy and energy.
“On Nov. 4,” he said, “we must stand up and say, ‘Eight is enough.'” But as far as we’re concerned, it’s just a start. Under a President McCain, the Obamas would be safer and more prosperous than if they themselves occupied the White House.