Clinton’s Pragmatism vs. Obama’s Vengeance

Thursday, 06 Dec 2012 07:41 AM

By Jacob Wolinsky

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“This Congress produced a budget that cut the deficit by half a trillion dollars, cut spending and raised income taxes on only the wealthiest Americans.” — Bill Clinton Jan. 25, 1994

“We’re going to have to see the rates on the top 2 percent go up. And we’re not going to be able to get a deal without it.” — Barack Obama Dec. 4, 2012

Notice the difference?

When Clinton was president and he proposed raising taxes, he thought it was in the best interests of the country. Right or wrong, Clinton wanted to balance the budget, and he thought that raising taxes on the wealthiest would help balance the budget. Clinton did not want to raise taxes just for the sake of raising taxes.

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Obama’s tone is completely different. He insists that tax increases be a part of any fiscal cliff deal. The GOP came up with an $800 billion revenue proposal by capping deductions on the rich. Obama, who constantly talks about fairness, is not willing to agree on a deal without a tax on the rich. Obama said straight out during the primaries in 2008, “what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

Obama is even willing to go over the fiscal cliff, which would likely cause the economy to enter into a recession, and significantly increase taxes on the middle class, all in the name of fairness.

It is hard to know why Obama is so insistent on raising taxes on the rich, but I have one theory. Liberals like to forget this, but Obama had huge support from Wall Street during his 2008 campaign. However, that support disappeared almost entirely for the 2012 campaign. Is Obama trying to get back at his former donors, who abandoned him for Mitt Romney?

In August 2009, Obama said “the last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession because that would just suck up, take more demand out of the economy and put business in a further hole.”

The economy is not in a recession today, but Obama proposed these taxes in March 2009, during the official “Great Recession.” Obama, however, did not press the point as hard during the first term as he is today. Furthermore, the wealthy backers supported him in early 2009. They did not mind paying taxes if it was meant to restore budgetary discipline. Finally, there is a risk of recession if Obama’s plan passes.

 Editor's Note: Use This Single Loophole to Pay Zero Taxes. See Video

This brings up back to Bill Clinton. Clinton wanted to raise taxes because he thought it would be good for the economy. Obama wants to raise taxes out of “fairness” and possible soar grapes. Today, the Middle East is a powder keg, Europe is still a mess, Latin American growth is tepid and China has many problems. In the Clinton era, the geopolitical economy was stronger and far more stable.

People claim that the GOP has moved to the far right, which could be true. However, when contrasting Clinton in 1994 to Obama in 2012, it is clear that the Democratic Party has moved to the far left.

In the past 18 years, we have gone from Clinton’s policies of pragmatism to Obama’s spite and vengeance.

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