Political Hay

Obama’s Left-Wing Extremism

Who says there's not much of a record to judge him by?

By 7.16.08

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Barack Obama has proposed increasing every major Federal tax. He supports increasing individual income tax rates, allowing the Bush tax cuts, which cut rates for all income levels, to expire. He has proposed almost doubling the capital gains tax rate, from 15% today to 28%. He supports more than doubling the tax on dividends, from 15% to as high as 39%. He has proposed numerous corporate tax increases. He supports increasing the death tax back to the stratospheric levels that applied before President Bush. He supports increasing the payroll tax on higher income earners.

In other words, if you run a profitable small business, you can expect to be plundered by the Obamanistas from every angle. If you work for a small business, you can expect to be looking for another job.

Indeed, as economics writer Amity Shlaes has written, Obama promises exactly the same economic policy Herbert Hoover used to turn a downturn in 1929 into the Great Depression. In addition to proposing steep tax increases, particularly sharply increasing the marginal rates that most affect the economy, Obama won the nomination attacking free trade all primary season, even promising voters to renegotiate NAFTA. Is this what our wobbly economy needs right now? Will this really open new opportunities for working people, or shut the door in their faces?

But Obama needs those tax increases to finance his promised massive increases in government spending approaching a trillion dollars over four years. All projections show that America cannot afford all the entitlement promises it has already made, with Federal spending projected to almost double relative to the economy over the next 35 years. Obama just ignores this looming crisis, and, instead, promises to add the largest entitlement of all, national health insurance.

All of these nationalized health programs around the world start by promising free health care for everyone, but end up with rigid, stifling bureaucracies designed to deny care to control runaway costs. Our nation's health care problems can be solved without massive new government spending and control, and the deteriorating quality and freedom of choice in health care that inevitably involves. But instead of new and innovative ideas that would increase patient power and choice, Obama serves the Left that wants to use our health care problems as an excuse for more government power and control. Instead of the promise of a new unity and hope, Obama promises to take us back to the already failed ideas of the past.

BUT THIS IS ONLY the beginning. In legislation he has already introduced in Congress, Obama proposes a new global war on poverty financed by American taxpayers. The bill would commit the U.S. to the goal of the 2000 United Nations Millennium Summit to reduce world poverty by 2015. The head of this UN project has already called for a new global tax to finance this goal. For now, Obama's bill would increase U.S. foreign aid by $65 billion a year toward this end.

Obama also supports $60 billion over 10 years for a new National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank that would finance more construction and repair of highways, bridges and other infrastructure. No new thinking here either. The last Federal highway bill devoted close to $300 billion to the same thing. The Army Corps of Engineers spends over $10 billion a year for more of the same.

Obama also proposes $72 billion for increased Federal spending on education, even though Bush increased such spending more rapidly than any other area (and even though education is actually a state and local responsibility). He proposes to spend $150 billion to put people to work building new "green technologies" as if no one can find a job unless the government provides one. Then there is $60 billion for an "energy plan" that is another bureaucratic boondoggle that will not create any new energy. There is $14 billion in new spending for a national service plan. Obama proposes as well to increase "assistance to state and local governments so that they don't slash critical services like health care or education." He also says, "I'll double spending on quality after school programs."

Just last week he came up with a proposal for a second stimulus package to send everyone a check to help cover their energy costs, another giveaway of tens of billions at least. The first "stimulus" package proved only that these old-fashioned Keynesian handouts don't work. But Obama is not above pursuing the crassest vote buying payoffs pandering to those whose votes are for sale.

This is exemplified by his supposed tax cuts for workers, a series of tax credits that would mostly go to those who do not pay income taxes. He has proposed "a tax credit to low and middle income Americans that would cover ten percent of their mortgage interest payment every year." He also proposes an income tax credit for such voters of $4,000 per year for college expenses. Then there is another tax credit of $1,000 per year for working families that is apparently just a giveaway, like George McGovern's proposal in 1972 to send a $1,000 Federal check to everyone. On the Earned Income Tax Credit, which currently goes to lower income workers, Obama says, "I'll double the number of workers who receive it and triple the benefit for minimum wage workers."

But Republican tax policy over the past 30 years has already eliminated all income taxes on low income and working class voters, or the bottom 40% of income earners. The middle class, the middle 20% of income earners, now pays less than 5% of all income taxes. Under Obama's proposals, if there is no income tax liability for the tax credit to offset, the government sends the worker a check covering the full amount of the credit anyway. So these proposed tax credits are really a new form of tax welfare, in reality just new government spending programs disguised as tax cuts.

Real tax cuts reduce tax rates for those who are forced to pay them. Those rate reductions create real incentives that stimulate the economy. But a supposed tax credit that does not involve any reduction in any tax rate, and gives money to voters that they did not pay in income taxes, is just another welfare handout that does nothing to stimulate the economy. Obama proposes to spend over $300 billion on this new tax welfare.

OBAMA'S LEFT-WING EXTREMISM is not limited to economic policy, but extends to all areas across the board. He has said that as President he would appoint Supreme Court Justices like Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the former General Counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, and David Souter, two of the ultraliberals on the current court. The Supreme Court is now in a delicate balance between four conservatives and four liberals, with one, Justice Kennedy, swinging back and forth. John McCain has said he would appoint Justices like solid conservatives John Roberts and Sam Alito. A majority of the current Justices are also over 70 years old. So the balance of the Supreme Court turns on this Presidential election.

Since the Great Depression, Americans have been free to choose unions through secret ballot elections under Federal law. But for 20 years now workers have been mostly rejecting predatory unions in those elections. So Obama supports a plan that would allow unions to bypass those elections, and claim worker representation on the basis of signed check cards. Given the long history of union violence, and the real danger of forged documents American workers will tragically lose their freedom of choice regarding unions if Obama becomes President.

Obama is the most pro-abortion major party Presidential nominee in history. When he served in the Illinois state legislature, he voted against legislation that would prevent abortionists from taking the life of a baby that remained alive out of the mother's womb after an attempted abortion. He has also opposed legislation prohibiting partial birth abortion, and favors government funding of abortion for lower income women. He said that if his own daughters became pregnant as teenagers, he would favor an abortion rather than "punishing them with a baby."

He has promised homosexual organizations that as President he would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that pro-family organizations worked so hard to pass successfully when the Republicans controlled Congress. This law would shield states from being forced to recognize gay marriages mandated by courts in ultraliberal states. He opposes the initiative in California on the ballot this fall that would define marriage in that state as a union between a man and a woman. After he is elected, he will openly be the first pro-gay marriage President.

When asked what he thought about a proposal to make English the official language of America, he said he opposes it. He said instead that American children need to learn to speak Spanish. If he is elected President, that will be true.

OBAMA'S ULTRALIBERALISM GROWS out of deep roots in his life. He has said he worked as a community organizer in Chicago. In fact, he worked for the ultra-Left ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). ACORN grew out of the National Welfare Rights Organization of the 1960s, which argued that low income residents in the U.S. had a right to welfare, and demanding anything of them to qualify for public assistance violated that right.

Author Sol Stern wrote in the City Journal in 2003 regarding ACORN,

If you thought the New Left was dead in America, think again. Walk through just about any of the nation's inner cities, and you're likely to find an office of ACORN, bustling with young people working 12 hour days to "organize the poor" and bring about social change. The largest radical group in the country....It promotes a 1960s-bred agenda of anti-capitalism, central planning, victimology, and government handouts to the poor. As a result, not only does it harm the poor it claims to serve; it is also a serious threat to the urban future.

ACORN has fought for legislation restricting landlords from evicting non-paying tenants, watering down welfare reform, and seeking authority for cities to tax surrounding suburbs. It has sought to "unionize" workfare workers, welfare recipients required to work for their assistance under welfare reform, as if welfare recipients should be bargaining over the laws that apply to their assistance.

ACORN itself brags on its own website about its practice of "squatting." This involves breaking into unoccupied homes and apartments and settling low income families in them. ACORN states,

Noting that economic upheaval had forced many people to default on mortgages, ACORN sought to place needy people in the resulting vacant homes. This required the forceful and illegal (though logical and moral) seizing of the properties -- squatting.

Such is the respect for property rights of this quasi-communist organization that Obama chose to work for to advance his values. ACORN continues,
The personal needs of people without homes attracted many to advertisements ACORN placed in papers asking "Do you need a home?" The squatting campaign required a personal commitment to move into a vacant, usually poorly kept house and refit it for comfortable living. It also involved the risk of arrest if local authorities refused them the legal occupation of the home.

As for the local authorities, ACORN explains, "local officials were asked to subsidize the costs of squatting in an effort to improve the quality of life of the squatters and their neighbors."

But this is not the only illegal activity of the ACORN brown shirts. ACORN voter fraud has been documented in at least 14 states. Michelle Malkin recently reported in one of her columns,

Last July, ACORN settled the largest case of voter fraud in the history of Washington State. Seven ACORN workers had submitted nearly 2,000 bogus voter registration forms. According to case records, they flipped through phone books for names to use on the forms, including "Leon Spinks," "Frekkie Magoal" and "Fruto Boy Crispila." Three ACORN election hoaxers pleaded guilty in October. A King County prosecutor called ACORN's criminal sabotage "an act of vandalism upon the voter rolls."

Similarly, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on ACORN voter fraud in Ohio where crack cocaine was traded "for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy, and Jive Turkey."

Obama also sports now well-known ties with confessed Weather Underground terrorists William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, who admit to bombing the Pentagon, New York City police headquarters, and similar targets in the 1960s and 1970s. By coincidence, on the morning of September 11, 2001, the New York Times published an interview with Ayers in which he laments not succeeding with even more bombings for the far left Weather Underground, whose once notorious exploits are now obscured by the passage of time. Obama started his political career seeking out the support of Ayres and Dohrn as mentors, trying to establish his bona fides as a true left-winger. They have held fundraisers for Obama's campaigns over the years, and spoken for him in local campaigns in the past.

Of course, Obama's close association with Trinity United Church of Christ Reverend Jeremiah Wright is also well known. But what has been obscured is that the church, where Obama has been a member for 20 years providing thousands in contributions, advocates far left black liberation theology.

So the true picture of who Obama is should now be clear. His consistently extreme left policy positions are well grounded deep into his past, dating back even to the prep school Marxism of his youth. How could America allow this man to become President of the United States? Do we not take that position seriously anymore?

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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.