Obama Forgot to Spread His Own Wealth

Obama Forgot to Spread His Own Wealth

Patrick Poole
Even when making more than $250,000, he gave away less than 1 percent to charity until he became a millionaire.

Thinking about Barack Obama’s impromptu lecture to Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher about his plans to “spread the wealth”, I wondered whether Obama was a practitioner of his own “spread the wealth” principles when he had the opportunity to do so, or whether he was the cheap political opportunist and redistributor of the wealth of others that he appeared to be.

 

Looking at Obama’s charitable giving in since 2000 based on his tax returns, we find that Obama consistently refused to follow his own advice to “spread the wealth” when he had the opportunity to do so. This is especially true in years when he made nearly $250,000 or more. Their contributions didn’t increase until Barack Obama’s extraordinary book deal helped make him a millionaire and Michelle Obama received nearly $200,000 raise in May 2005 when she assumed a new position with her employer as vice president of “community and external affairs”.

 

As the chart below shows (HT: TaxProf Blog), from 2000-2004, Obama’s charitable giving was less than 1 percent:

In fact, Obama gave substantially less than the average family making more than $150,000, which averages giving of 2.2 percent of total income according to University of George Professor Russell James.

 

By comparison, John McCain gave more than one-quarter of his income in 2006 and 2007 (28.6 and 27.3 percent respectively). And according to the New York Observer, since 1998, he has donated royalties on his books totaling more than $1.8 million.

 

When Barack and Michelle Obama could voluntarily give more of their own income and had the means well beyond most Americans to do so, they refused. In the event that Barack Obama is elected President, however, he and his Democrat allies in Congress intend to force others to do what he couldn’t do on his own.

 

Vote accordingly.

Obama to Press: Welcome to the “new” America

Obama to Press: Welcome to the “new” America

Rick Moran
The Obama campaign has booted three right-leaning newspapers off their plane. All three endorsed John McCain for president.

Welcome to Obama’s American, gents: From Drudge:

The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states — and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!

The NY POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs — and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Despite pleas from top editors of the three newspapers that have covered the campaign for months at extraordinary cost, the Obama campaign says their reporters — and possibly others — will have to vacate their coveted seats so more power players can document the final days of Sen. Barack Obama’s historic campaign to become the first black American president.

MORE

Some told the DRUDGE REPORT that the reporters are being ousted to bring on documentary film-makers to record the final days; others expect to see on board more sympathetic members of the media, including the NY TIMES’ Maureen Dowd, who once complained that she was barred from McCain’s Straight Talk Express airplane.

After a week of quiet but desperate behind-the-scenes negotiations, the reporters of the three papers heard last night that they were definitely off for the final swing. They are already planning how to cover the final days by flying commercial or driving from event to event.

Developing…

Do you also feel the hairs on the back of your head pricking up in reaction to this move? A portend of what’s to come in Obama’s America?

Of course, we’re being silly our liberal betters tell us. No doubt the New York Times and Washington Post will have examples in their columns tomorrow of previous candidates who booted newspapers off their plane. It will be sold as just something that everyone does and there’s nothing to get alarmed about America. Just go back to sleep and don’t forget to wake up long enough to go to the polls on Tuesday and elect our Messiah.

Except this isn’t the Podunk Tribune we’re talking about here. These are three respected newspapers who happen to have critical coverage of a candidate who now deems it necessary to toss them off his campaign plane. No connection?

A sizable number of residents in Virginia buy and subscribe to the Washington Times. Obama is limiting a point of view that residents in perhaps the most vital swing state in America will be getting. Are we to believe that this is an accident? Are we to seriously consider that Obama isn’t trying to affect how reporters cover his campaign?

I would say to the Washington Post and New York Times there will come a day when you too will feel this rope around your neck and your freedom is affected because you are not behind The One 100%. Your cries of outrage at that point will be ignored by a public who will wonder where were you when it started?

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Last week I made the open-and-shut case for John McCain: In a dangerous world entering an era of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, the choice between the most prepared foreign policy candidate in memory vs. a novice with zero experience and the wobbliest one-world instincts is not a close call.

But it’s all about economics and kitchen-table issues, we are told. OK. Start with economics.

Neither candidate has particularly deep economic knowledge or finely honed economic instincts. Neither has any clear idea exactly what to do in the current financial meltdown.

Hell, neither does anyone else, including the best economic minds in the world, from Henry Paulson to the head of the European Central Bank. Yet they have muddled through with some success.

Both McCain and Barack Obama have assembled fine economic teams that may differ on the details of their plans but have reasonable approaches to managing the crisis. So forget the hype. Neither candidate has an advantage on this issue.

On other domestic issues, McCain is just the kind of moderate conservative that the Washington/media establishment once loved — the champion of myriad conservative heresies that made him a burr in the side of congressional Republicans and George W. Bush.

But now that he is standing in the way of an audacity-of-hope Democratic restoration, erstwhile friends recoil from McCain on the pretense that he has suddenly become right wing.

Self-serving rubbish. McCain is who he always was. Generally speaking, he sees government as a Rooseveltian counterweight (Teddy with a touch of Franklin) to the various malefactors of wealth and power.

He wants government to tackle large looming liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. He wants to free up health insurance by beginning to sever its debilitating connection to employment — a ruinous accident of history (arising from World War II wage and price controls) that increases the terror of job loss, inhibits labor mobility and saddles American industry with costs that are driving it (see: Detroit) into insolvency. And he supports lower corporate and marginal tax rates to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

An eclectic, moderate, generally centrist agenda in a guy almost congenitally given to bipartisanship.

Obama, on the other hand, talks less and less about bipartisanship, his calling card during his earlier messianic stage. He does not need to. If he wins, he will have large Democratic majorities in both houses. And unlike 1992, Obama is no Clinton centrist.

What will you get?

(1) Card check, meaning the abolition of the secret ballot in the certification of unions in the workplace. Large men will come to your house at night and ask you to sign a card supporting a union. You will sign.

(2) The so-called Fairness Doctrine — a project of Nancy Pelosi and leading Democratic senators — a Hugo Chavez-style travesty designed to abolish conservative talk radio.

(3) Judges who go beyond even the constitutional creativity we expect from Democratic appointees. Judges chosen according to Obama’s publicly declared criterion: “empathy” for the “poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old” — in a legal system historically predicated on the idea of justice entirely blind to one’s station in life.

(4) An unprecedented expansion of government power. Yes, I know. It has already happened. A conservative government has already partially nationalized the mortgage industry, the insurance industry and nine of the largest U.S. banks.

This is all generally swallowed because everyone understands that the current crisis demands extraordinary measures. The difference is that conservatives are instinctively inclined to make such measures temporary.

Whereas an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Barney Frank administration will find irresistible the temptation to use the tools inherited — $700 billion of largely uncontrolled spending — as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to radically remake the American economy and social compact.

This is not socialism. This is not the end of the world. It would, however, be a decidedly leftward move on the order of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

The alternative is a McCain administration with a moderate conservative presiding over a divided government and generally inclined to resist a European social-democratic model of economic and social regulation featuring, for example, wealth-distributing, growth-killing marginal tax rates.

The national security choice in this election is no contest. The domestic policy choice is more equivocal because it is ideological. McCain is the quintessential center-right candidate. Yet the quintessential center-right country is poised to reject him. The hunger for anti-Republican catharsis and the blinding promise of Obamian hope are simply too strong. The reckoning comes in the morning.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

All Charisma, No Heart

All Charisma, No Heart

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Character: Barack Obama would “spread the wealth” as president, but until lately the Obamas were giving less than 1% of their own high incomes to the needy and neglecting even poverty-stricken blood relatives.


Read More: Election 2008


 

Sen. Barack Obama is apparently quite a cheapskate when it comes to giving to charity. From 2001 to 2004, the tax returns for Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Obama show less than $8,500 in donations out of the nearly $1 million they made.

In 2005 and 2006, with book royalties making them millionaires, their charitable contributions rose to about 5% of income. But how “charitable” are some of the causes Obama supports? In 2006, for instance, he gave more than $20,000 to the notorious Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Imagine that. Giving tens of thousands of dollars to someone who preaches “not God Bless America; God damn America!” from the pulpit. It remains incomprehensible that John McCain chose not to hammer home Obama’s close association with Wright. The Wright issue has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with radical ideology.

Another supposed charitable donation was the more than $13,000 Obama gave to the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC last year confirmed that it is a hard-core segregationist organization. When white liberal Democrat Steve Cohen ran in a majority-black House district in Memphis in 2006, he pledged to become the first white CBC member. But once he won, caucus members told him that whites need not apply.

Juxtapose that with the South Carolina state Republican Party chairman feeling compelled last month to resign his 12-year membership in an exclusive whites-only country club. Imagine the uproar if McCain, like Obama, had given a $13,000 “charitable donation” to a group that restricts membership based on race.

How can Obama spare thousands for Chicago’s Muntu Theater of African dance, while allowing his 56-year-old Aunt Zeituni, about whom he reminisces fondly in his best-selling “Dreams From My Father,” to live in a South Boston slum, as exposed by the Times of London this week? While Obama was swimming in well over $600 million in cash contributions, his underprivileged Kenyan-born auntie actually sent his campaign a modest donation.

A 2003 Associated Press story profiling poor people who buy lottery tickets at check-cashing stores apparently quotes Obama’s Aunt Zeituni, describing her as unemployed and cash-strapped.

Obama’s Uncle Omar, also described affectionately in his book, was apparently evicted from his Boston home in 2000 after losing his job. Then there is Obama’s 26-year-old half brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama, discovered by the Italian edition of Vanity Fair to be living in a hovel near Nairobi, claiming to earn “less than a dollar a month.”

It’s funny how Obama can sell his memoir exploiting his relatives and humanize himself for voters, yet be too busy getting ready to change the world to be there for them when they need a hand.

 

The Card Shark

The Card Shark

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Campaign Finance: Barack Obama has turned a blind eye to the use and abuse of prepaid credit cards. It’s just one way he hides who his contributors are and just how much they’re giving.


Read More: Election 2008


 

When Steve and Rachel Larman of North Kansas City, Mo., opened their credit-card bill recently, a strange charge appeared on their statement — a $2,300 donation to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

This was odd, they thought, since they had not only not made the donation, they were planning to vote for John McCain.

It was one more piece of evidence that the unprecedented flow of cash to and through the Obama campaign is not entirely legit. In any campaign, bogus or unwanted contributions can slip through the cracks. But team Obama has deliberately created a chasm of credibility.

In addition to noncontributors being charged for contributions, at least $218 million has been received by the Obama campaign from donors of under $200 whose names it is keeping secret, according to FEC spokesman Robert Biersack.

Fact is, team Obama has deliberately encouraged credit-card fraud by deliberately turning off the online safeguards normally used by sites receiving contributions or payments. There is no checking of names, addresses or card numbers done on the front end.

According to the Washington Post, “Faced with a huge influx of donations over the Internet, the campaign has also chosen not to use basic security measures to prevent potentially illegal or anonymous contributions from flowing into its accounts, aides acknowledged.”

Campaigns can accept donations of under $200 without disclosing contributors’ names. McCain, who accepted public financing while Obama did not, has made his full donor database available on the Internet. Of the $150 million Obama claims to have raised in September, some $42 million was raised from secret contributors and listed under a single line, “Donors, Unitemized.”

Obama’s deliberate lack of finance vetting allows the use of largely untraceable prepaid credit cards. These can be purchased at a local drugstore and used under any name, allowing anonymous donors to exceed limits on contributions and even foreign donors to funnel money to Obama’s campaign.

A Newsmax report noted a separate FEC database, of more than 11,500 foreign contributors to the Obama campaign, totaling $33.8 million. It was the largest influx of foreign money into a campaign since the Clinton-Gore campaign took millions of dollars of unregulated soft money from donors with ties to Chinese military intelligence.

Typical is Viktor A. of Lagos, Nigeria, who gave $500 to Obama in May. State abbreviations accepted by the Obama campaign include IT (Italy), FR (France), GR (Greece), NZ (New Zealand), JP (Japan) and GA (Gaza). According to Newsmax, 2,372 donors gave their state of residence as “ZZ” with addresses from Beirut to Kiev to Shanghai.

Considering the Obama campaign’s $800,000 donation to ACORN to “get out the vote,” this may be the first political campaign in which vote fraud is financed by credit-card fraud. Not only can Mickey Mouse register to vote, he can contribute to the Obama campaign.

McCain to appear on SNL

McCain to appear on SNL

AP

AP

Who knew that Saturday Night Live would become the go-to place for the GOP ticket this year?

John McCain is scheduled to appear on Saturday Night Live this weekend, the second time he has hit the late night comedy show this year.

He last appeared on SNL on May 17 when he participated in two skits–one a faux address to the nation where he touted his being “really, really old” as an important reason to elect him and another on the Weekend Update segment where he called on Democrats to keep the primary race going as long as possible.

Runningmate Gov. Sarah Palin made her own guest appearance on the show two weeks ago.

No details on the nature of the skit this weekend or official comment from the campaign yet.

Actor Ben Affleck, an Obama supporter, will be officially hosting the show.

Happy Obamaween

History Repeating Itself

History Repeating Itself

Rick Moran
This powerful video quotes a letter to the editor in the Richmond Times Dispatch from a Cuban refugee who came to the US in 1968. The letter writer mentions that there are eery similarities between the candidacy of Obama and the rise to power of another politician who also spoke eloquently and passionately for “change.”

Fidel Castro:

 

Americans seem to have lost their suspicions of politicians who not only are popular, but who seek to lead mass movements. Such demagoguery – the Huey Longs of American politics – used to be condemned for trying to set up a cult of personality that had the potential of overriding Constitutional protections.

Not today. Americans appear to be ready to hand the presidency to man who encourages the kind of slavish devotion that a Castro or Hugo Chavezs revels in. It is good to be reminded where that kind of devotion can lead.

Spreading the Wealth and Killing the Goose

Spreading the Wealth and Killing the Goose

By Gregory V. Helvering

Larry King:  Concerning spreading the wealth, isn’t the graduated income tax spreading the wealth? ….

Senator McCain:  Well, that’s spreading the wealth in the respect that we do have a graduated income tax.  That’s a far cry from taking from one group of Americans and giving to another.  I mean, that’s dramatically different.

  – “Larry King Live,” October 29, 2008

John McCain put his finger on an important point:  we currently have an extraordinarily progressive income tax, which requires the wealthy (and the relatively wealthy) to bear virtually the entire burden of the income tax.  Obama wants to spread the wealth not because the wealthy do not currently bear their fair share of supporting the government.  He wants to spread the wealth because he views the wealth itself as unfair.

 

According to the latest IRS statistics, released this summer, we have an extremely progressive income tax system.  For 2006 (the latest year for which statistics are available), the share of the federal income tax paid by the top 1 percent of tax returns reached an all-time high — 40% of all federal income taxes.  The top 50% paid 97% of the tax.  The bottom 50% paid only 3% of it.  

 

In addition, there were 43 million tax returns filed by people who had gross income but who — after deductions, exemptions and credits — had no tax liability at all.  Many of these people got free money from the federal government, via “refundable credits” such as the Earned Income Tax Credit.  They got “refunds” even though they did not pay any income tax in the first place.

 

Even more importantly, the statistics demonstrated that the Bush tax cuts actually increased the share of taxes paid by the “rich” (however they are defined).  In 2000 (the last year of the Clinton administration), the top 1% paid 37% of the federal income tax; by 2006, the figure was 40%.  In 2000, the top 25% paid 84% of the tax — by 2006 it had increased to 86%.  In 2000, the bottom 50% paid 4% — in 2006 the percentage had dropped to 3% (a 25% drop in the relative tax burden on the lower half of the country). 

 

So after the Bush tax cuts the burden the “rich” bear is significantly up and the burden on the rest of society is dramatically down.  That’s great news, right? 

 

Well, no — not if your goal is “redistributive change” (and if you don’t think the courts, shackled as they are by their “interpretation” of the rights in the Constitution, can do it for you).  If the change you believe in is “redistributive change,” increasing the burden of government borne by the rich is nice, but it does not get you where you really want to go. 

 

Robin Hood was not upset at the relative costs among the citizenry of supporting the Sheriff of Nottingham.  He did not think the rich should bear a greater burden in helping the Sheriff create an ordered society.  He wanted the money for his chosen beneficiaries, not for the government.  He didn’t want tax increases on the rich; he wanted their income.

 

For progressives, the above IRS statistics simply prove that, under the Bush tax cuts (which were across the board to all taxpayers), the “rich” made more money (since they were allowed to keep more of it and invest it, which produced even more income for them).  The “rich” thus paid more taxes, and bore a greater burden of financing government, but for progressives, the Bush tax cuts have to be rescinded even if they demonstrably shifted more of the tax burden to the rich.

 

For progressives, the goal is not ultimately to create more tax revenue for the government, but to equalize the income of the citizenry.  So increased taxes from the rich are not a solution if they mean the rich made more money compared to others.  In fact, even if the tax cuts end up making the tax system more progressive, that simply exacerbates the problem:  the “gap” between rich and poor.

 

That is why Obama had this exchange earlier this year with Charlie Gibson about increasing the capital gains tax rate:

 

GIBSON:  . . . [You] said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, “I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton,” which was 28 percent.  It’s now 15 percent.  That’s almost a doubling, if you went to 28 percent.
But actually, Bill Clinton, in 1997, signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.
OBAMA:  Right.
GIBSON:  And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.
OBAMA:  Right.
GIBSON:  And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money.  And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down.
So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
OBAMA:  Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. . . .
We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year – $29 billion for 50 individuals.  And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. That’s not fair.
And what I want is not oppressive taxation.  I want businesses to thrive, and I want people to be rewarded for their success.  But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that [blah, blah, blah for another 155 words].
GIBSON:  But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.
OBAMA:  Well, that might happen, or it might not. It depends on what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going. . . .  [Emphasis added].

 

Obama does not appreciate the fact that tax incentives for investment and business expansion have a direct effect on “what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going.”  One does not simply increase the tax on capital gains, and on investors, and assume that the same amount of investment and capital gains will still occur.

 

Obama believes the main thing is to make the capital gains tax “fair,” regardless of what history shows about the relationship between rates and revenue.  He does not appreciate that tax incentives for investing increases the amount of investing, which in turn expands business, creates more jobs and produces more income – and thus more tax. 

 

The JFK tax cuts proved it; the Reagan tax cuts proved it; the capital gains tax cut that a Republican Congress forced on Bill Clinton proved it; and the Bush tax cuts proved it again.  It is not a theoretical argument.  The latest cold, dry IRS statistics demonstrate it once again.

 

If Obama is elected next week, we will all be treated to another history lesson about why societies that sought “fairness” by taking massive amounts of money from one part of society to give to another (not simply to fulfill a governmental duty of providing a safety net, but for the affirmative purpose of “redistributive change”), not only did not create “fairness,” but in fact made matters significantly worse for everyone.

 

Gregory V. Helvering is the pseudonym of a tax lawyer who has been practicing for more than 30 years.

Obama at Khalidi bash: Israelis commit “genocide”, have “no God-given right to occupy Palestine”

Obama at Khalidi bash: Israelis commit “genocide”, have “no God-given right to occupy Palestine”

Israel Insider

Award-winning blogger Doug Ross reports that a reliable source has provided an eyewitness account of what he saw on the videotape of the Rashid Khalidi farewell bash that the LA Times is suppressing.

The paper used the tape as the basis for its watered-down story about the event and has been suppressing ever since, despite massive appeals — including an official request by the McCain campaign — to release indisputably newsworthy evidence that could inform voters about where Barack Hussein Obama really stands.

The eyewitness source, who Ross calls “a person who has provided useful, accurate and unique data from LA before” writes:

    Saw a clip from the tape. Reason we can’t release it is because statements Obama said to rile audience up during toast. He [Obama] congratulates Khalidi for his work saying “Israel has no God-given right to occupy Palestine” plus there’s been “genocide against the Palestinian people by Israelis.”

 

It would be really controversial if it got out. That’s why they will not even let a transcript get out.

The eyewitness’ use of the word “we” suggests that he is a Times staffer.

In a separate development, a European financier, cited by the Atlas Shrugs blog, has offered a $150,000 reward for provision of the tape.

After four days of hemming and hawing, and trying out other excuses for the suppression, the LA Times’ editor Russ Stanton came up with the following “reason”: “The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it.”

Ross retorts: “How frickin’ stupid do they think we are?” Someone gave the Times a videotape so it wouldn’t be released? And they can’t publish a transcript?”

Now we may know why not. At the very least, the leak of the quotes may compel the paper to release a transcript, or the Obama campaign to confirm or deny their ver

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 56 other followers