When’s the last time you heard a local television news anchor quote Karl Marx?
Well, get ready, because you’re about to…
First off, I think Biden answered the way you should when somebody asks questions with such a heavy editorial slant. I mean that was laughably transparent. Karl Marx? Is she serious with that?
But second…I think what we’re seeing here are two memes forming that we’ll hear a lot about in the years to come.
Meme One: America Is Becoming A Socialist Society
It really seems like Republicans are now trying to characterize the progressive taxation system we’ve had for the past 70 years as “socialist.” And, to be fair, it does redistribute wealth and that’s sort of the point. But folks…what’s the alternative? A flat tax?
Well, if you that’s what you’re thinking, I’d like to share some realities about the flat tax proposals that have been put forth in recent history. All the ones I’ve seen provide for a “primary exemption” which would make a certain amount of income completely free from tax. And then anything above that would be taxed at the flat rate.
Long story short, it’s still a progressive taxation system because there are tiers. So there would be a large swatch of people who would pay absolutely ZERO taxes. How is that any fairer than our current system? The net effect is it would raise taxes on the already shrinking middle class and be a MASSIVE tax cut for the rich.
But mark my words, this is the boogeyman that Republicans will be trotting out the next four years. They’ll accuse Obama of stripping America of its freedoms and turning it into a socialist society for things like hiking the highest tax rate 3%.
What’s more, I think this flat tax idea will catch on with the Republican base. After all, Huckabee ran on that platform this year and he did rather well for himself with pretty much no money. And since Republicans will need a “big idea” in 2012 to provide a compelling reason for people to vote for them again (unless Obama is completely made of fail), the flat tax seems like the best thing they’ve got.
Meme Two: America Is Losing Its Superpower Status
The only other thing that Republicans can usually run on besides taxes is national defense, and they’ve been quite effective at it in recent years. So I anticipate that we’ll hearing a lot of chatter in the coming years about how our position in the world as a super power is coming to an end because of Obama’s foreign policy.
Why will they be able to make the point? Well, first off they’ll just say it whether or not it’s valid. But second, I bet Obama’s cuts military spending back to 3% of the GDP, where it was at in 2000. Reason? We can’t afford it since it currently totals just under $1 trillion a year when accounting for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
Now, there could be a genuine foreign policy blunder Obama makes and that would be an obvious thing to point out, but look for some of the right-wing politicos to try and paint nearly anything that doesn’t seem like a absolute, clear win as a failure. Particularly when we’re considering Pakistan, Iran and Russia. Because those three seem like they’re going to be thorns in our side for years to come.
We shall see…