"Nobody should be excused from paying income taxes" — Ari Fleischer, former press secretary for George W. Bush
A few night back I watched the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, whose guest was Ari Fleischer. Personally, Fleischer had always struck me as arrogant, but I learned he's got a selfish streak in him that rivals the arrogance. Asked on his thoughts Barack Obama, he came out blasting Obama's tax plan as favoring the working poor. "You can't have a country that is going to be strong if you have about 45% of the country that is excused from paying income tax."
As elaborated in the opening quote as his thoughts about tax breaks to the middle class, Fleischer is mirroring what we've heard from McCain and Palin in debates recently. Bottom line, helping out any of the lower 90's who've suffered over the past eight years is wrong, according to the GOP. Just like four years ago, it's "compassionate conservativism" ... also known as "tough love."
And the amazing irony of this is it follows so soon after the taxpayers (all of us!) had to pony up bail for Wall Street. Usually these conservatives allow a bit more time between incidents for we ephemerally-memoried LCD's out in TV land to put it out of mind before beginning the act of switching the bait.
But lo, this year's GOPers have heard an earful from the "wealthy elite" of "Wall Street" who've been the whipping boy of both political parties. The vice presidential debate showed Sarah Palin's response to Joe Biden's populism making the comment that she had concerns "about this wealth redistribution" idea based upon Obama's plans for adddressing this failed economy.
During last week's final debate, we saw John McCain doing likewise with his "Joe the Plumber" sock puppet act, where he brought up how a middle class guy like Joe who theoretically earns a little over $250,000 a year could end up seeing his tax burden go up. Heinous. The caveat is this: when you make $250,000 annually, you are in the upper 1% of the country, income-wise. When was it that those in the lower reaches of the upper 1% became middle class?
This of course overlooks the point that the whole Joe The Plumber routine was a red herring. Joe wasn't an independent (he's registered Republican), doesn't make close to a quarter million salary -- and wouldn't even if his company's profit was just over that range anyway (there would be deductible costs and labor expense), and is not a licensed plumber anyway (not a requirement for an individual plumber in Ohio, but strange when you consider he wanted to buy a plumbing contracting business!).
It does demonstrate how great of lengths the GOP (aka: the Greedy Old Party) will go to protect their base -- or as George W. Bush put it, "the haves and have-mores."
What is most galling is how brazen the GOPers deceit is in this election season, painting themselves as being the middle class everyman, and attempting to play Barack Obama as representing elite! Yet it's Mr. "Everyman" McCain who's concerned about doing anything that infringes upon the upper one-percenters net income, and Mr. "Elite" Obama being the one proposing assistance to the lower 95% of America.
To that end, we saw John McCain's most recent comments on the stump speech trail have painted Obama's tax plan as giving "welfare" checks to the most economically impacted in America. "Raising taxes on some in order to give checks to others is not a tax cut; it's just another government giveaway."
This "giveaway" complaint comes mere weeks after McCain himself gave active support and voted for his conservative President's plan to offer a $700 billion bailout of Wall Street banks. Even now we're discovering from the UK's Guardian a report that the major banks benefitting from this new "nationalizing" act will be giving an estimated $70 billion in total pay compensation to their staffs, with some banks' total employee compensation to date exceeding the entire stock value.
No welfare state there, eh?
"John McCain is so out of touch with the struggles you are facing that he must be the first politician in history to call a tax cut for working people 'welfare,'" Barack Obama responded in his speech under the St. Louis arch. "The only 'welfare' in this campaign is John McCain's plan to give another $200 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest corporations in America."
Folks, there's going to be plenty of baseless claims this campaign season. Get smart, look this stuff up for yourself! Find out who is truly the candidate standing for the majority of this country that has been screaming in pain, unheard mostly throughout these past years. It's not the man with more houses than he can account for, claiming to be the everyman looking out for the middle class and calling middle class tax cuts as welfare!
"Don't believe the hype - its a sequel
As an equal, can I get this through to you?" — Don't Believe the Hype, Public Enemy