Special Report

The Hugo Chavez Democrats

This is what we have to look forward to -- and it's only a preliminary list.

By 10.29.08

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The polls place the approval rating of Congress at 12%, the lowest in history, and only about half President Bush's miserable rating. But if the election polls are correct, we will soon be governed by ultraliberal, San Francisco Democrat Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House with an even bigger House Democrat majority, liberal Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid with a filibuster proof majority of 60 Senate Democrats, and left-wing extremist Barack Obama as President, rated as the most liberal member of the Senate, ahead even of Ted Kennedy.

The polls do not show that the public agrees with these leftist nutcakes on the issues. For example, Newt Gingrich reports results of a poll that asked what was more important as the focus of national economic policy, economic growth or income redistribution. The public favored economic growth by 84% to 9%, which is exactly what I would expect. But the public is about to place government overwhelmingly in the hands of those who firmly believe just the opposite.


The End of Prosperity

Raising taxes, indeed sharply raising every major Federal tax, increasing government spending by unprecedented trillions of dollars, and increasing regulatory costs by over another trillion dollars through Obama's global warming energy plan, is not the way to restore the American economy to prosperity. This is the road to economic disaster. Yet this is precisely the "Change" that Obama and his ultraliberals are proposing. Cutting taxes on savers and investors, and on American companies facing tax burdens that leave them uncompetitive in the world economy, sharply cutting government spending, and avoiding unnecessary regulatory burdens are the only means of returning to prosperity. This is the Change We Need, but Obama and his ultraliberals promise to take us in exactly the opposite direction.

Obama has the entire country mesmerized by the promise of a measly $500 income tax credit for "95% of Americans." Indeed, no one even asks him exactly what his tax cut for 95% of Americans is, but that is what it is. Yet another government check like that is not going to do anything to change the fundamental incentives, and so will do nothing to advance the economy. Indeed, it will harm the economy as the credit is swiftly phased out at higher income levels, effectively increasing marginal tax rates further by imposing another penalty as income rises.

McCain has proposed to increase the dependent's exemption for children from $3,500 to $7,000. At the middle class income tax bracket of 25%, that would mean a tax cut of $875 per child. McCain has also proposed a $5,000 tax credit for the purchase of health insurance financed by actually redistributing an existing tax subsidy that now goes mostly to higher income workers. Obama has bludgeoned this proposal with ads proclaiming it is a tax increase. But the truth is as Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge has written, "This tax provision has a bigger impact on cutting people's taxes than any single proposal from either party."

Indeed, these two McCain proposals would eliminate most if not all of the remaining federal income tax liability for the middle class, the middle 20% of income earners that now pay 4.7% of federal income taxes. Federal income taxes for the bottom 40% of income earners, the working class and working poor, have already been eliminated. This vastly reduced federal income tax burden for the middle class and below is the result of the tax policies of Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich and George Bush, despite the lies Obama told Joe the Plumber, and continues to tell the nation at large. What Obama is now proposing is tax credits that would send new government checks to those paying little or nothing in federal income taxes, calling them tax cuts.

McCain has also proposed cutting taxes on savings and investment by allowing immediate-expensing deductions for capital investment rather than arbitrary depreciation over several years. He has proposed reducing America's second highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world from 35% to 25%, where it will compete against the new 24% average corporate rate in the European Union, the new 19% in Germany and Canada, the 12.5% rate in Ireland, and low rates as well in India and China. He has also proposed stiff spending cuts, including a federal budget freeze to bring the budget into balance.

This is exactly what our economy needs, and would produce a long-term boom. But Obama says it is more of the same tax cuts for the rich and corporate fat cuts. This is not a grown-up response.


National Defense?
Can we really trust these ultraliberals with our nation's defenses? Will they maintain our nation's nuclear deterrent? Will they keep up with China now racing to build new space attack weapons? As Bret Stephens reported in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, "As for nuclear weapons, the U.S. hasn't built a new warhead in decades. Its mainstay, the W76, is widely suspected of being unreliable, yet Congress has resisted funding the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead."

Barney Frank, a senior leader of the liberal left Democrat House majority, says they will cut national defense by 25%. Is that the right policy in the face of a newly challenging Russia, a resurgent China, and the threat from Iran and terrorism?

Obama says not to worry, he is going to talk to Iran, fancying that as a new idea. But every Administration back to Jimmy Carter has talked to Iran, to no avail. Meanwhile, in the past week Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced his preconditions for talks with a new President Obama. He said America must withdraw all forces from the Middle East, including Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, and cut its ties with Israel.

The idea that anything is going to be accomplished by talking to Iran is daft. But can we expect anything else from Obama and the ultraliberal Democrats to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons? And once Iran achieves that goal, not just Ahmadinejad but the entire Iranian leadership is irrevocably committed to using those weapons against Israel. They have said as much -- indeed, they have said such an attack is part of their fundamental religious doctrine. Hitler told us what he was going to do in Mein Kampf 10 years before he did it. Those in the West who insisted on ignoring that suffered the blood of hundreds of millions of deaths on their hands. But will Obama even accept into America millions of Jewish refugees fleeing a radioactive Israel?

Of course, there is nothing wrong with talking to Iran. What is wrong is expecting anything to come of it other than the results Roosevelt got in pursuing peace talks with Japan in 1941. The very morning the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, those Japanese peace negotiators were still in Washington preparing for another day's talks.


Forced Unionism
Since the 1930s, American workers have had the freedom to choose whether to recognize a union for their workplaces in secret ballot elections. But the unions, which have regularly lost about half those elections, now say secret ballots are unfair. They want to change federal law to require recognition of a union simply when the union presents to the employer "union authorization cards" signed by a majority of employees at a work site.

When a swarm of union activists, who have your home address and phone number, come at lunch time to ask you to sign a union authorization card, do you really have an option publicly to say no? Or maybe they will come to your home. How about after your wife or teenage daughter get a threatening phone call? How about after you hear about someone who resisted signing a card at another work site who was beaten up by some people he didn't know? Given the long history of disgraceful union violence, such public demands to sign a card do not involve freedom of choice.

Suppose the union gets signed cards from 51% of your co-workers (by hook or crook), but you don't want to join the union. Unless you live in a state with a right to work law, you then have no choice. You have to accept the union as your bargaining agent, and pay union dues, which generally run hundreds of dollars each year or more. Your only choice is to quit and go work somewhere else.

Obama and the Democrat party now support the Orwellian-named Employee Free Choice Act to enact precisely this change in the law. But that is not all. If the employer and the union do not reach agreement on a contract in 120 days, then the Act requires the dispute to go to mandatory arbitration. The arbitration panel can then impose a two-year contract on the employer with the wages, benefits, work rules, and work conditions it decides are right. So when that union activist shows up at the employer's door with those signed cards, the employer has lost control over his company. When the union drives him out of business and leaves the workers unemployed, the union will just go on to the next victim.

Obama also wants to change the law to prevent the employer from hiring replacements for striking workers. But this freedom, which has been in federal law for 70 years, is the core essential for making the whole union regulation system work, for it prevents unions from making excessive wage demands. If an employer tries to impose unreasonable, substandard and submarket pay on the workers, it will be unable to find sufficiently qualified replacement workers. But if the union is demanding excessive, above market wages, then the employer will easily be able to find replacements for strikers.

Still another bill supported by Obama and his lefty Democrats would force state and local governments to recognize mandatory unions for all police, firefighters, and other public safety workers. The real Change We Need, however, is just the opposite of all of this, a national right to work law that will grant each and every worker the freedom to decide whether or not to join a union. No longer would any worker in America be told that he or she must join a union or lose their job. That is the right law for a free country.


"Fairness," Not Free Speech
If you thought liberals believe in free speech, wait until you see how they behave once they enjoy the overwhelming majorities they expect. First up is to shut down conservative talk radio through so-called Fairness Doctrine regulation of radio broadcasts. Under that regulation, government bureaucrats will decide whether licensed radio and TV broadcasters maintain a mandatory balance between competing viewpoints on public policy issues. Of course, there is no objective means for determining what balance between competing viewpoints on any issue is.

Network news is exempt from this proposed regulation because, after all, it is just objective reporting of the news, and we can't have government involvement in that. Nor does the requirement for balance apply to newspapers or magazines like Time or Newsweek, because, after all, anyone can go and start up his own newspaper or magazine if he doesn't like the existing ones.

Only predominantly conservative talk radio will bear the burden of this regulation. And the fundamental problem is economic. Millions and millions of people listen regularly to dozens of conservative talk radio shows across the country every day. Only a few liberal talk radio shows can draw enough listeners to survive. If radio stations have to balance popular shows with millions of listeners with losers that nobody wants to listen to, they will go out of business. Hence the end of conservative talk radio.

The right rule for a free society is the free speech doctrine, not the fairness doctrine. Everybody should be free to speak their mind on radio, and if they can draw enough listeners to survive in the market, they should be free to thrive. If they can't draw the listeners, then they shouldn't be taking up space on the radio spectrum.


The Brown Shirts

But the experience we are already suffering with Obama and his minions shows the trouble our nation is in. Lawyers for the Obama campaign are sending letters to the Justice Department demanding criminal prosecution of a nonprofit advocacy organization and its primary donor because they are sponsoring TV ads publicizing the close connections between Obama and unrepentant terrorist William Ayers. No one has demonstrated anything false in the ad, and the organization's lawyers have been careful to comply with every legal requirement and filing. That is why the Justice Department has refused to take any action.

The Obama campaign is also sending threatening letters to TV stations running NRA ads about Obama's anti-gun record, claiming the ads are false and misleading. The letters threaten the stations with FCC investigations regarding their licenses to broadcast. Obama's campaign has done the same to stations running the Ayers ad.

A union front group called Accountable America has "launched a campaign to send 'WARNING' letters to potential GOP donors in a thuggish attempt to depress Republican fund-raising," nationally syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin reports on her website. She includes an actual letter from the group, which starts out "Dear Republican Supporter." It then threatens the potential contributor with investigations by the IRS, and "by the media and well-funded 'watchdog' groups" regarding their "business and personal affairs."

Hans von Spakovsky reports at HumanEvents.com that the Obama campaign has organized a Barack Obama Truth Squad in Missouri that has received local media attention. Spakovsky writes, "It is made up of local prosecutors and sheriffs who say they will target anyone who 'lies' or runs a 'misleading' TV ad about Obama during the Presidential campaign."

Michelle Malkin further reports that in late August, "Obama exhorted his followers to sabotage the WGN radio show of veteran Chicago host and University of Chicago Professor Milt Rosenberg. Why? Because he invited National Review writer Stanley Kurtz to discuss his investigative findings about Obama's ties to Ayers and the underwhelming results of their collaboration on a left-wing education project sponsored by the Chicago Annenberg Challenge." Obama's message to supporters called the careful and academic Kurtz "a smear merchant" and "a slimy character assassin" who did not deserve "time for his divisive, destructive ranting on our public airwaves."

If this is how Obama and his people are behaving now, what will they be like when they take over the Justice Department, and the FCC, and the entire federal government?


Why Bill Ayers Matters
The real reason that Bill Ayers, and all of Obama's other associations with radical left-wing socialist revolutionaries, matters is that it helps us to understand the pattern of liberal-left positions taken by Obama, which I have just started to recount above. I have left out Obama's support for driver's licenses and Social Security for illegal aliens, his massive proposed spending increases, including a new global war on poverty financed by U.S. taxpayers, recently totaled in the Wall Street Journal as amounting to $4.3 trillion over 10 years, his proposed government takeover of health care, his specified central economic planning for our energy industry, his support for the most liberal-left Supreme Court appointees in history, modeled after former ACLU General Counsel Ruth Bader Ginsburg, his support for federal legislation to repeal every state restriction on abortion, including parental notification, his ardent support for partial birth abortion, his promise to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and his opposition to making English the official language of America (he said Americans need to teach their children Spanish). 

Obama is now returning to his rhetoric about unifying America. But everything about him indicates that he is a left-wing extremist who cannot remotely bring America together. Obama has a history of taking the most extreme liberal-left position on the issues, not reaching across the aisle for bipartisan agreement. His rhetoric about unity frankly insults our intelligence. Obama qualifies instead as the leader of the Hugo Chavez Democrats, threatening a left-wing takeover of America that portends a long, dark night for the American people.

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About the Author
Peter Ferrara is Director of Entitlement and Budget Policy at the Heartland Institute, General Counsel of the American Civil Rights Union, Senior Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlements and Budget Policy at the National Tax Limitation Foundation. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General of the United States under President George H.W. Bush.