Sunday, April 27, 2008

Obama's Sunday Waffles

27 Apr 2008 17:46 Africa/Lagos

Obama's Sunday Waffles

Why Can't Obama Keep His Story Straight On His Plans To Raise Taxes And Ignore Commanders On The Ground?


Today, Obama Said That It Would Be "Stupid" Of Him To Ignore Gen. Petraeus' Recommendations On Iraq:

Obama: "I will listen to General Petraeus given the experience that he's accumulated over the last several years. It would be stupid of me to ignore what he has to say." (Fox News' "Fox News Sunday," 4/27/08)

But Obama Previously Said The U.S. Should Begin To Withdraw From Iraq Immediately, Just One Day After Gen. Petraeus Warned Against A Premature Withdrawal:

Gen. Petraeus Testified Before The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Of Which Obama Is A Member, That A Premature Withdrawal From Iraq Would Have "Devastating Consequences." Gen. Petraeus: "In describing the recommendations I have made ... I believe Iraq's problems will require a long-term effort. ... Our assessments underscore, in fact, the importance of recognizing that a premature drawdown of our forces would likely have devastating consequences. That assessment is supported by the findings of a 16 August Defense Intelligence Agency report on the implications of a rapid withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Summarizing it in an unclassified fashion, it concludes that a rapid withdrawal would result in the further release of the strong centrifugal forces in Iraq and produce a number of dangerous results, including a high risk of disintegration of the Iraqi security forces, rapid deterioration of local security initiatives, al Qaeda-Iraq regaining lost ground and freedom of maneuver, a marked increase in violence, and further ethno-sectarian displacement and refugee flows, alliances of convenience by Iraqi groups with internal and external forces to gain advantages over their rivals, and exacerbation of already challenging regional dynamics, especially with respect to Iran. Lieutenant General Odierno and I share this assessment and believe that the best way to secure our national interests and avoid an unfavorable outcome in Iraq is to continue to focus our operations on securing the Iraqi people while targeting terrorist groups and militia extremists, and as quickly as conditions are met, transitioning security tasks to Iraqi elements." (Gen. David Petraeus, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 9/11/07)

The Day After Gen. Petraeus' Testimony, Obama Called For The U.S. To "Immediately Begin To Remove Our Combat Troops" From Iraq. Obama: "So let me be clear. There is no military solution in Iraq. There never was. The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq's leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year, but now. To execute this, we should enter into talks with the Iraqi government to discuss the process of our drawdown. We must get out strategically and carefully, removing troops from secure areas first and keeping troops in more volatile areas until later. But our drawdown should process at a steady pace of one or two brigades each month. If we start now, all our combat brigades should be out of Iraq by the end of next year." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks On Iraq, Clinton, IA, 9/12/07)


Today, Obama Claimed He Would Only Raise Capital Gains Taxes As High As 20 Percent:

Obama: "In terms of capital gains I've suggested we might go back up to 20 [percent]." (Fox News' "Fox New Sunday," 4/27/08)

But Only A Few Weeks Ago, Obama Said He Would Raise Them As High As 28 Percent:

On March 30, Obama Advocated Raising The Capital Gains Tax Potentially To 28 Percent. CNBC's Maria Bartiromo: "How do you plan to change the tax code when it comes to capital gains? How high will that 15 percent rate go?" Obama: "I haven't given a firm number. Here's my belief, that we can't go back to some of the, you know, confiscatory rates that existed in the past that distorted sound economics. And I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was the 28 percent. I would--and my guess would be it would be significantly lower than that. I think that we can have a capital gains rate that is higher than 15 percent." Bartiromo: "Well, let's hypothetically say the cap gains tax goes from 15 percent to 25 percent. You're impacting a lot of people. A hundred million Americans own stocks today." Obama: "Absolutely." Bartiromo: "So it's not just the rich." Obama: "No, no, no, absolutely. And that's why I think that it may be, for example, that you could structure something in which people of certain incomes were exempted from this increase and it would stay at 15. The broader principle that I'm interested in is just making sure that we've got a tax code that is fair for all Americans." (CNBC's "Closing Bell," 3/27/08)

Americans Of Every Background Benefit From Lower Capital Gains Tax Rates:

The Joint Committee On Taxation Reported Figures Demonstrating That Americans Earning Less Than $50,000 Benefitted From Lower Capital Gains And Dividends Tax Rates. "Figures from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) help support the idea that more middle class Americans benefit from this tax break. In 2005, about 20 percent of the taxpayers who were expected to report capital gains income -- and 24 percent of those expected to report dividend income -- earned less than $50,000 annually, the JCT data showed." (Joseph J. Schatz, "Tax Break Tries On 'Middle Class' Label," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 2/17/06)

The Wall Street Journal Noted That 52 Percent Of American Adults Own Stock In Some Form. "But it's not only the wealthy who will take a hit from higher capital gains taxes. Recent surveys indicate that roughly 52% of American adults own stock in some form, and last year 8.5 million of these investors paid a capital gains tax." (Editorial, "A Capital Gains Primer," The Wall Street Journal, 10/15/07)

In 2005, The Average Capital Gains And Dividend Income Reported Per Tax Return In The U.S. Was $5,840. On Average, It Accounted For 10.73 Percent Of Adjusted Gross Income. ("Dividends And Capital Gains Income Compared To Other Income, 2005," The Tax Foundation,, 7/16/07)


Today, Obama Said He Would Raise Payroll Taxes On Americans And Small Businesses Earning Over $102,000:

Obama Is Comfortable Raising Payroll Taxes On Americans Earning $102,000 A Year. Obama: "And in terms of raising the payroll tax, raising the cap on the payroll tax, right now everybody who is making $102,000 or less pays 100 percent, payroll tax on 100 percent of their income. There are about 3 - 4 percent of Americans who are above $102,000 in income every year. So if you want to talk about who's middle class, me giving cuts to folks making $60,000, $70,000 and potentially asking more from friends of mine like Warren Buffet who I have no idea what he made last year, you know, that's a debate I'm happy to have with John McCain." (Fox News' "Fox New Sunday," 4/27/08)

But Only Two Weeks Ago, Obama Pledged He Wouldn't Raise Taxes On Americans Earning Less Than $200,000:

When Asked By ABC's George Stephanopoulos If He Would Pledge Not To Raise Taxes On The Middle Class, Obama Agreed. ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "Would you take the same pledge [that there will be no tax increases of any kind, for anyone earning under $200,000 a year]?" Obama: "Well, I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes." (ABC Democrat Candidates Presidential Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 4/16/08)

ABC's Charles Gibson: "Senator Obama, you both have now just taken this pledge on people under $250,000 -- and 200-and-what? $250,000?" Obama: "Well, it depends on how you calculate it, but it would be between $200,000 and $250,000." (ABC Democrat Candidates Presidential Debate, Philadelphia, PA, 4/16/08)

Obama's Payroll Tax Hike Would Burden Small Businesses And Self-Employed Americans:

Eliminating The Payroll Earnings Cap Would Burden Small Business Owners Who Create Two Of Every Three New Jobs. "Lost in Obama's calculations is that many of the people who would be affected by eliminating the earnings cap are small-business owners who employ more than half the non farm private-sector work force and create two of every three new jobs in this country." (Editorial, "Caps Off For Obama," Investor's Business Daily, 9/25/07)

Three Million Small Business Owners Would Have Their Taxes Raised. "Taxes would also be raised on 3 million small-business owners. By fiscal 2015, the number of job opportunities lost would exceed 865,000 and personal savings would decline by more than $55 billion."(Editorial, "Caps Off For Obama," Investor's Business Daily, 9/24/07)

The Nation's Self-Employed Would Be Hit Especially Hard Because They Would Be Subject To Both The Employee And Employer Portions Of The Payroll Tax. "The self-employed would be subject to a double whammy, since they pay both the employee and employer portion of the payroll tax." (Editorial, "Caps Off For Obama," Investor's Business Daily, 9/25/07)

In 2006, 16.1 Million Americans Were Self-Employed. "Self-employment (incorporated and unincorporated) totaled 16.1 million in 2006 [in the U.S.], an increase from 15.8 million in 2005."(Small Business Administration Office Of Advocacy, "2007 Small Business Profile: United States,", Accessed 4/23/08)


Obama Has Been Criticized For Providing Insufficient Funding Sources To Pay For His Billions In New Spending:

If Obama Could Enact All Of His Campaign Proposals, Taxpayers Would Be Faced With Financing $662.549 Billion In New Spending Over One White House Term. (RNC Research)

"Many Critics Said Mr. Obama Was Playing Math Games When He Proposed Policies Without Identifying A Funding Source." (Brian DeBose, "Obama Revises Plan On Tax Cuts," The Washington Times, 10/1/07)

Obama's Funding Suggestions Are "Illustrative Rather Than Complete." "'Obama recognizes this is an arithmetic problem,' [liberal economist Bob McIntyre] said Tuesday, 'and offers suggestions that I assume are illustrative rather than complete.' That's hardly accounting for 'every single dollar' as Obama claims." (Calvin Woodward, "Dems' Accounting Falls Short," The Associated Press, 1/22/08)

Robert Bixby, Executive Director Of The Concord Coalition: "I couldn't help but think, 'Where is he [Obama] going to get the money to pay for these things?'" (Kevin G. Hall and Margaret Talev, "Clinton, Obama Ignore Budget Crisis, Promise Billions," McClatchy Newspapers, 2/22/08)

Media Sources Have Pointed Out That Obama Won't Be Able To Afford His Domestic Programs Without Breaking His Pledge Not To Tax The Middle Class:

The New York Times' David Brooks Said For Obama And Clinton To Fund Their Domestic Programs "They Will Have To Break Their Pledge" Not To Tax The Middle Class. "Both promised to not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 or $250,000 a year. They both just emasculated their domestic programs. Returning the rich to their Clinton-era tax rates will yield, at best, $40 billion a year in revenue. It's impossible to fund a health care plan, let alone anything else, with that kind of money. The consequences are clear: if elected they will have to break their pledge, and thus destroy their credibility, or run a minimalist administration." (David Brooks, Op-Ed, "No Whining About The Media," The New York Times, 4/16/08)

The New York Times: "In Effect, Mrs. Clinton And Mr. Obama Are Saying That They Can Pay For Their Promises Mainly By Raising Taxes On The Top 3 Percent Of Taxpayers. That's Neither Politically Nor Economically Plausible." (Editorial, "Empty Talk On Taxes," The New York Times, 4/24/08)

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