PrestoPundit

IBD: BARACK SR. & BARACK JR. —

Posted by PrestoPundit on 08/19/2008

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

As a Nairobi bureaucrat, Barack Hussein Obama Sr. advised the
pro-Western Kenyan government there to “redistribute” income through
higher taxes. He also demonized corporations and called for massive
government “investment” in social programs.

Writing in a 1965 scholarly paper, Obama’s late father slammed the
administration of then-President Jomo Kenyatta for moving the Third
World country away from socialism toward capitalism. He chafed at the
idea of relying on private investors — who earn “dividends” on their
venture capital — to develop the country’s fledgling economy.

“What is more important is to find means by which we can
redistribute our economic gains to the benefit of all,” said the senior
Obama, a Harvard-educated economist. “This is the government’s
obligation.” The “means” he had in mind were confiscatory taxes on a
scale that redefines the term “progressive taxation.”

“Theoretically,” he wrote, “there is nothing that can stop the
government from taxing 100% of income so long as the people get
benefits from the government commensurate with their income which is
taxed.”

Therefore, he added, “I do not see why the government cannot tax
those who have more and syphon some of these revenues into savings
which can be utilized in investment for future development.”

As Obama’s father saw it, taxes couldn’t be high enough, so long as
the collective benefited. “Certainly there is no limit to taxation if
the benefits derived from public services by society measure up to the
cost in taxation which they have to pay,” he said. “It is a fallacy to
say that there is this limit, and it is a fallacy to rely mainly on
individual free enterprise to get the savings.”

His son is also pushing massive taxes and “investments” in social
programs — at the expense of free enterprise. Sen. Obama wants to raise
the top marginal income-tax rate to at least 39%, while increasing
Social Security taxes on those with higher incomes by completely
removing the payroll cap. That means many entrepreneurs would be paying
12.4% (6.2% on employer and 6.2% on employee) on Social Security
payroll taxes alone, plus the 2.9% on Medicare taxes, for a total
federal tax rate of 54%.

In addition, Obama wants to jack up the capital-gains tax rate and reinstate the death tax.

Echoing his father, he argues that the government should impose “tax
laws that restore some balance to the distribution of the nation’s
wealth.”

And likewise, he asserts that the nation’s wealth ought to be
rechanneled by government into “investments” in the economy and welfare
programs that create “a new American social compact.”

“We can only compete if our government makes the investments that
give us a fighting chance” in the global economy, the Democrat
presidential hopeful said in his 2006 book, “The Audacity of Hope.”
“And if we know that our families have some net beneath which they
cannot fall.”

“Training must be expanded,” his father proposed as one of his
government “investments.” Likewise, Sen. Obama wants to “invest”
billions more in federal jobs retraining.

His father’s critique of Kenya’s economic policy was published in
the East Africa Journal under the title “Problems Facing Our
Socialism.”
One discovers — after reading just a few pages into his
eight-page tract, where he waxes quixotic about “communal ownership of
major means of production” — that he wasn’t criticizing the government
for being too socialistic, but not socialistic enough.

Obama Sr. described his own economic plan, his counterproposal, as
it were, as “scientific socialism — inter alia — communism.” Yes,
Obama’s father was a communist who wanted to put socialist theory into
action — by “force.”

He trusted the collective over the individual, a theme he
successfully instilled in his son, also Harvard-educated, with whom he
visited once for a full month in Hawaii, even speaking to his prep
school class. He kept up correspondence with his son through his
college years.

(Media accounts portray Obama’s father as being completely out of
his life after leaving his mother and him at age 2. But Obama’s first
book, “Dreams From My Father,” reveals that he remained an influential
force in his life. Obama’s first autobiography was devoted to “my
father.”)

Listen to what “the Old Man,” as Obama and his siblings called him,
wrote in proposing government-run farms: “If left to the individual,
consolidation will take a long time to come. We have to look at
priorities in terms of what is good for society, and on this basis we
may find it necessary to force people to do things they would not do
otherwise.”

He explained that “the government should restrict the size of farms that can be owned by one individual throughout the country.”

More evil than individuals, Obama’s father believed, are heads of
corporations. More evil still are the bankers and investors, who
conspire to control the world through their evil capitalist system.

“One who has read Marx cannot fail to see that corporations are not
only what Marx referred to as the advanced stage of capitalism,” he
wrote. “But Marx even called it finance capitalism by which a few would
control the finances of so many, and through this, have not only
economic power but political power as well.”

It’s clear from Sen. Obama’s own writings and speeches that he too
is no fan of business or our system of “chaotic and unforgiving
capitalism,” as he wrote in “Audacity.” He’s fond of bashing Wall
Street “greed” and the post-Reagan rise of individual investing over
government investing. He wants to roll back the “Ownership Society.” He
resents the profit motive and individuals “on the make.”

“Rather than vilify the rich,” he laments, “we hold them up as role
models, and our mythology is steeped in stories of men on the make.”

This is no small point. The man who wants to be the nation’s CEO
actually believes we’re living in a feudal society where the rich
plunder the poor. And he thinks they should not only be vilified but
punished.

“The problems of poverty and racism, the uninsured and the
unemployed are rooted in the desire among those at the top of the
social ladder to maintain their wealth and status whatever the cost,”
he wrote. “Solving these problems will require changes in government
policy.”

That is, massive taxation, among other things (or “inter alia,” as his “brilliant” father would say).

Obama wrote in “Dreams From My Father” that he was trying to impress
his father by taking a low-paying job organizing and agitating in the
Chicago ghetto right out of college. “I did feel that there was
something to prove to my father,” he said.

Most of this should be familiar stuff to PrestoPundit readers.

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