Republican Cluelessness on Economics

As a capitalistic business owner, probably the quickest way to have one’s comments here cause one to be banned from commenting here as a clueless tin-foil-hat-wearing right winger is raise claims of socialism. (Also high on the list is to merely preciously disproven repeat right wing smears of any type.) This is especially true when they support one of the most anti-capitalist organizations on earth–the Republican Party. From Dick Cheney’s energy task force to the K Street Project in recent years, to wage and price controls under Richard Nixon, no group has accomplished more to undermine the free market system in the United States than the Republican Party. I would comment on a more accurate name for the economic system really backed by the Republicans, but the term has far too serioius negative connotations to continue to use it.

Despite his self-admitted lack of understanding of economics, John McCain has repeatedly tried to paint Barack Obama as a socialist, ignoring the pro-market influences of the University of Chicago on Obama’s views. I most recently touched on this yesterday when I discussed how McCain was distorting Obama’s comment on spreading the wealth around to make it sound like Obama was speaking of taking wealth from Joe the Plumber to give to others. In reality, Obama was speaking of giving a tax cut to the middle class (which would include Joe the Plumber) so that more people would be able to afford to hire people like Joe. CNN did some fact checking on McCain’s attacks today. They really didn’t do all that great a job of explaining Obama’s views, but at least they did label McCain’s charges as misleading. Factcheck.org also had yet another article out yesterday describing how McCain’s attacks on Obama’s tax plans are untrue.

One of the charges which Factcheck debunked yesterday was a claim that Obama’s tax cuts are “welfare.”  Via Steve Benen we also have a response from Obama:

“It comes down to values — in America, do we simply value wealth, or do we value the work that creates it? For eight years, we’ve seen what happens when we put the extremely wealthy and well-connected ahead of working people. Now, John McCain thinks that the way to rebuild this economy is to double down on George Bush’s policy of giving more and more tax breaks to those at the very top in the false hope that it will all trickle down. I think it’s time to rebuild the middle class in this country, and that is the choice in this election.

“Senator McCain wants to give the average Fortune 500 CEO a $700,000 tax cut but absolutely nothing at all to over 100 million Americans. I want to cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all workers. And under my plan, if you make less than $250,000 a year — which includes 98 percent of small business owners — you won’t see your taxes increase one single dime. Not your payroll taxes, not your income taxes, not your capital gains taxes — nothing. It’s time to give the middle class a break, and that’s what I’ll do as President of the United States.

“Lately, Senator McCain has been attacking my middle class tax cut. He actually said it goes to, ‘those who don’t pay taxes,’ even though it only goes to working people who are already getting taxed on their paycheck. That’s right, Missouri — 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.’

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 — including $4 billion in tax breaks to big oil companies that ran up record profits under George Bush. That’s who John McCain is fighting for. But we can’t afford four more years like the last eight. George Bush and John McCain are out of ideas, they are out of touch, and if you stand with me in 17 days they will be out of time.”

Curiously many conservatives are attacking Obama’s tax cuts by making an argument that this is welfare as more low income people would wind up not paying any income taxes. Hearing this is rather strange coming from the right wing considering how many of them in the past backed Milton Friedman’s ideas regarding a negative income tax for the poor. All too often, whether right wingers accept or attack an idea comes down not to the merits of the idea but to which individual or party advocates it.

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