Howard: Obama promoting class warfare

By Giles Howard

President Barack Obama might have campaigned as an anti-war candidate, but over the last few… President Barack Obama might have campaigned as an anti-war candidate, but over the last few weeks he has inaugurated a new conflict: a class war that pits the idle and the White House against the productive and the prosperous. And while the cities of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan have proven difficult enough battlefields, Obama’s choice of health care as the first theater of this new war is far more perilous. The Obama administration opened this new front early in March by proposing to raise the taxes of wealthy Americans to pay for the health care of the lower classes. But in the last few days, the administration has moved more aggressively to appease the indigent by penalizing the productive. The New York Times reported on Saturday that, in recent hearings before Congressional committees, both Obama’s budget director and treasury secretary stated the administration’s willingness to tax employer-provided health benefits. This new tax revenue would then be applied to realizing Obama’s socialized medicine scheme. To borrow from Obama’s campaign rhetoric, this would constitute ‘a multi-trillion dollar tax hike’ on the productive classes of the American workforce. Specifically, Obama’s plan would increase taxes on 177 million Americans who receive all or part of their health coverage from employers. This penalizes everyone from lawyers and doctors to unionized steelworkers and auto manufacturers who, through skilled labor, have earned health care through their work. It would tax them for their competency and redistribute the fruits of their labors to the unskilled and the indigent. A president whose mantra was change and whose slogan was hope has now turned to the American people and demanded sacrifice. Not sacrifice to defeat terrorism, not sacrifice to solve the financial crisis, not even sacrifices to repair our image abroad but rather sacrifice to benefit the undeserving. Ayn Rand wrote, ‘It only stands to reason that where there’s sacrifice, there’s someone collecting the sacrificial offerings. Where there’s service, there’s someone being served. The man who speaks to you of sacrifice is speaking of slaves and masters and intends to be the master.’ What is the incentive to produce if production has no relation to the necessities of life? What is the incentive to work if those who work and those who do not share the fruits of that work equally? Paying taxes is not a sacrifice to the well-being of some sort of American collective. Paying taxes constitutes the buying of goods such as defense, transportation infrastructure and education. If the paying of taxes ceases to be a capitalist exchange of one good for another, then we have become a new nation divorced from the founding principles of this country. James Madison wrote, ‘Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.’ Obama was not elected to turn the United States into some sort of Salvation Army where giving to the indigent is mandatory. In fact, many of those 177 million Americans who receive health insurance from their employers voted for Obama because they correctly recognized Sen. John McCain’s plan to tax their benefits as an undue intrusion of the government into their financial well-being. But at least McCain intended to give that money back to Americans through tax credits. In short, Obama has consistently reneged on his campaign promises and become a poor caricature of the very people and policies he opposed. He should remember that it was the upper and upper-middle classes that bankrolled his campaign and catapulted him from the underdog position in the primary into the presidency. He should also keep in mind the fact that the unions who brought the grass-roots muscles to bear kept him from being a footnote in U.S. politics. Betraying both labor unions and the upper class in one fell swoop guarantees he will be relegated to one term. Iraq and Afghanistan have become quagmires in which the United States seems stuck for decades. Both conflicts appear intractable, and each promises to cost this nation dearly before they are over. However, Obama’s third war, the one against the productive classes, will make those foreign adventures appear like cakewalks ‘mdash; unless he quickly changes his tune and abandons his socialist pretensions. This nation elected a leader in November of 2008, not a master. E-mail Giles at [email protected].