While taking part in a discussion on overcoming poverty, President Obama exposed the empty language that Republicans are using to pretend that they care about the poor.
The President said:
I think if you talk to any of my Republican friends they will say number one, they care about the poor, and I believe them. Number two, they’ll say there are some public goods that have to be made, and I believe them, but when it comes to actually establishing budgets, making choices, prioritizing, that’s when it all starts breaking down.
But ultimately, there are going to have to be some choices made. When I, for example, make an argument about closing the carried interest loophole that exists whereby hedge fund managers are paying fifteen percent on the fees and income they collect I’ve been called Hitler for doing this, or at least this is like Hitler going to Poland. That’s an actual quote from a hedge fund manager when I made that recommendation.
The top twenty-five hedge managers made more than all of the kindergarten teachers in the country. So when I say that, I’m not saying that because I dislike hedge fund managers, or I think they’re evil. I’m saying that you’re paying a lower rate than a lot of folks who making $300,000 a year. You pretty much have more than you’ll ever be able to use and your family will ever be able to use. There’s a fairness issue involved here, and by the way, if we were able to close that loophole I can now invest in early childhood education that would really make a difference.
If we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to just make that modest investment, then this conversation is for show.
The President blew the Republican faux concern about poverty out of the water by challenging them to make rich people who are exploiting loopholes in the tax code to pay their fair share.
Obama was correct this is an issue of fairness, and Republicans aren’t interested in going beyond empty words. Republicans have no desire to make those who are cheating the system do the right thing that would help to make our society stronger.
President Obama wasn’t floating any radical ideas. He simply suggested that people who have more money than they will ever be able to spend in their lifetimes have a portion of their income taxed at a rate that is more reflective of their earnings.
President Obama and the Democrats are going to continue to win this argument because it is a matter of fairness, and there is undeniable sense among the American people that the rungs of the ladder of economic opportunity have been sawed off, and the system is extremely unfair.