Conservatives Jumping Aboard Obama As Socialist Meme

It is not surprising that many conservative bloggers are repeating the claims that Barack Obama is one of the most left wing candidate for president we’ve seen in ages following the story in The Times of London which I discussed yesterday. They assume that everyone will forget that in 2004 they said the same of Kerry, and they seem to make the same claim about the Democratic every election year. As I noted in my previous post, Obama’s economic advisers are out of the University of Chicago, which is far better known for its free market principles than for promoting socialism.

Despite the free market influences on many of Obama’s economic views, I still wouldn’t expect many conservative bloggers to go agree with him even if they acknowledged that his economic views are far less leftist than those of many other Democrats. I support Obama more on social issues, civil liberties issues, and foreign policy than on every one of his economic views and in some areas I see some validity with some of the conservative criticism of his economic plans. Unfortunately in politics we will never have a candidate we agree with on all issues.

With these considerations in mind I wasn’t surprised to see Ed Morrissey jump on the Obama as leftist bandwagon. At least he does present arguments on his economic views as opposed to simply screaming that Obama is a socialist like many other conservative blogs are doing. He also places Hillary Clinton in the same boat, suggesting that at least he isn’t saying that Obama is further to the left than every other Democrat around as some conservatives now claim. In addition, by including Clinton he isn’t helping her with her strategy, as mentioned by Robert Novak, of trying to win by identifying Obama with George McGovern while keeping her “fingerprints off the attack.”

One commenter to Ed’s post already notes that one of Obama’s plans which he criticizes is similar to an idea promoted by Milton Friedman, The Saver’s Credit, and supported by Ronald Reagan. This may very well tie into Obama receiving advice from economists at the University of Chicago.

While many of the disagreements come down to matters of opinion, there is at least one error in fact. Obama’s idea on having the IRS send completed tax forms for taxpayers to approve if they have no changes is receiving excessive condemnation from many on the right. The more absurd attack was previously discussed here in the comments when Eric Dondero claimed that this would result in the IRS receiving more information than it currently does about business income. The point of the plan is that the IRS already has this information and could just as easily generate a form and save many taxpayer’s the trouble.

Ed’s criticism is less extreme than Eric’s but but is still incorrect. He writes:

Do you like the IRS? Want to trust them to do your tax returns? Rather than simplify taxes, Obama instead wants to have the IRS prepare your returns for you and send them out for your signature. Since the IRS gets all of your income information already, he wants the IRS to calculate how much you owe, without apparently considering that most Americans itemize for deductions. It doesn’t cut down on preparation time in any case, but merely transfers the cost to the federal government– as well as more power to the IRS.

This gives the IRS no more power than it now has as taxpayers would have the option of rejecting the forms as completed by the IRS. The cost issue may or may not be meaningful and if this does turn out to be expensive then I could see objecting. My suspicion is that a computerized system could generate the forms from information already submitted to the IRS at a minimal cost. His major error is in saying that “most Americans itemize for deductions.”

The point of this plan is that most Americans do not itemize and a simple form sent to them for their approval would be sufficient. Most estimates I’ve seen of the number who itemize have been one-third or less but as I haven’t found an exact number I’ll go with a slightly higher estimate from a conservative organization which perhaps Ed would find more credible. The Heritage Foundation writes, “Only 35 percent of Americans itemize their deductions.” This leaves a tremendous number of people who might benefit from this plan.


  1. 1
    miss welby says:

    the best thing is that Obama, if elected, could sort out the situation in Africa (Kenya, Darfour, Zimbabwe…) in a couple of minutes – bloody dictators will shit themselves and disappear voluntarily. one of them Africans has become the most powerful man on this planet and he’ll take revenge on the bastards!

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Somehow I doubt that any bloody dictators will disappear voluntarily.

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