Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Kudlow unloads on Obama

Larry Kudlow is one of the smartest financial analysts that is in the world today. Markets are in his blood, and money is what he watches. Today he lambastes Barack Obama's economic plans and reminds readers that while he espouses a message of hope, once you strip away the veneer of his plan, it's more like big-government pessimism:

Senator Barack Obama is very gloomy about America, and he's aligning himself with the liberal wing of the Democratic party in hopes of coming to the nation's rescue. His proposal? Big-government planning, spending, and taxing -- exactly what the nation and the stock market doesn't want to hear.

Obama unveiled much of his economic strategy in Wisconsin this week: He wants to spend $150 billion on a green-energy plan. He wants to establish an infrastructure investment bank to the tune of $60 billion. He wants to expand health insurance by roughly $65 billion. He wants to "reopen" trade deals, which is another way of saying he wants to raise the barriers to free trade. He intends to regulate the profits for drug companies, health insurers, and energy firms. He wants to establish a mortgage-interest tax credit. He wants to double the number of workers receiving the earned-income tax credit (EITC) and triple the EITC benefit for minimum-wage workers.

The Obama spend-o-meter is now up around $800 billion. And tax hikes on the rich won't pay for it. It's the middle class that will ultimately shoulder this fiscal burden in terms of higher taxes and lower growth.

This isn't free enterprise. It's old-fashioned-liberal tax, and spend, and regulate. It's plain ol' big government. The only people who will benefit are the central planners in Washington.

Obama would like voters to believe that he's the second coming of JFK. But with his unbelievable spending and new-government-agency proposals he's looking more and more like Jimmy Carter. His is a "Grow the Government Bureaucracy Plan," and it's totally at odds with investment and business.

Obama says he wants U.S. corporations to stop "shipping jobs overseas" and bring their cash back home. But if he really wanted U.S. companies to keep more of their profits in the states he'd be calling for a reduction in the corporate tax rate. Why isn't he demanding an end to the double-taxation of corporate earnings? It's simple: He wants higher taxes, too.

The Wall Street Journal's Steve Moore has done the math on Obama's tax plan. He says it will add up to a 39.6 percent personal income tax, a 52.2 percent combined income and payroll tax, a 28 percent capital-gains tax, a 39.6 percent dividends tax, and a 55 percent estate tax.

Not only is Obama the big-spending candidate, he's also the very-high-tax candidate. And what he wants to tax is capital.

Doesn't Obama understand the vital role of capital formation in creating businesses and jobs? Doesn't he understand that without capital, businesses can't expand their operations and hire more workers?

Dan Henninger, writing in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, notes that Obama's is a profoundly pessimistic message. "Strip away the new coat of paint from the Obama message and what you find is not only familiar," writes Henninger. "It's a downer."

Obama wants you to believe that America is in trouble, and that it can only be cured with a big lurch to the left. Take from the rich and give to the non-rich. Redistribute income and wealth. It's an age-old recipe for economic disaster. It completely ignores incentives for entrepreneurs, small family-owned businesses, and investors. You can't have capitalism without capital. But Obama would penalize capital, be it capital from corporations or investors. This will only harm, and not advance, opportunities for middle-class workers.

Obama believes he can use government, and not free markets, to drive the economy. But on taxes, trade, and regulation, Obama's program is anti-growth. A President Obama would steer us in the social-market direction of Western Europe, which has produced only stagnant economies down through the years. It would be quite an irony. While newly emerging nations in Eastern Europe and Asia are lowering the tax penalties on capital -- and reaping the economic rewards -- Obama would raise them. Low-rate flat-tax plans are proliferating around the world. Yet Obama completely ignores this. American competitiveness would suffer enormously under Obama, as would job opportunities, productivity, and real wages.

Imitate the failures of Germany, Norway, and Sweden? That's no way to run economic policy.

I have so far been soft on Obama this election season. In many respects he is a breath of fresh air. He's an attractive candidate with an appealing approach to politics. Obama is likeable, and sometimes he gets it -- such as when he opposed Hillary Clinton's five-year rate-freeze on mortgages.

But his message is pessimism, not hope. And behind the charm and charisma is a big-government bureaucrat who would take us down the wrong economic road.

Strip away the charismatic speeches, the message of "change" and "hope," and all we're left with is a wet-behind-the-ears upstart that not only doesn't have a clue about the ins and outs of government powers but he thinks he can tax us into prosperity. I might be one of the few pundits out here that look at Obama, and wonder why everyone is getting so excited about him.

Yes, he has charisma, and in comparison to Senator Clinton (who's charisma is on par with a dead fish), he seems like a welcome breath of fresh air. But you read what Mr.Kudlow writes, and read the story picked up by Hot Air on Obama's plan to question the patriotism of US companies, learn what he has in store for nationalized health care especially for those that try to opt out of it, and you don't have an air of change.

You have the air of socialism. You have what Woodrow Wilson, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and Jimmy Carter all have in common -- growing the federal government bigger, and more intrusive into our lives. If hammered on this subject during general election debates, he's likely to fold like a cheap suit.

His inexperience is something that should be hammered home repeatedly. When JFK was elected from the Senate to the presidency, he had already spent twelve years in Congress. That was enough experience for the electorate to put their faith in him. What has Barack Obama done? A search of his Senate record shows that while he has sponsored a number of bills and amendments, many have simply been referred to committee, and few have been acted upon. So, again, his message of change is falling flat. The National Hournal ranked him as the most liberal senator for 2007, and was virtually tied with Hillary Clinton in the rankings (giver or take a point or two).

Hope? Change? He offers neither unless voters like lip service being paid to them. His inexperience is a point that should be hammered home to voters time and again. Many of his supporters may swoon over him, and proclaim him the next JFK. the sad fact is that while he may have some similarities, Barack Obama is no JFK. He is also not a man we want in the White House come next year. For sensible voters, they have made the issues this year that presidential contenders have to explain. The war and national security, the economy, immigration, and the federal courts are all on the minds of voters. While John McCain isn't strong on one of those issues (because of his recent past record), he is strong on the other three.

Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have said they will begin a withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Their economic ideas already have Wall Street worried, and investors planning on dumping what they have should they win. They both support an amnesty of sorts for the illegal aliens here in the US, be they from south of the border, north of the border, or abroad. And I don't think we have to remind voters that both of them voted against Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. Both men are good justices with a solid originalist record, but that's not who these two want on the high court. They want people who believe in the "living, breathing" Constitution. (I only bring up Hillary at this point because they are identical in nearly every measure. Point being that no one in their right mind wants either Democrat in the White House come January of 2009.)

Publius II


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