George Bernard Shaw was a perceptive man with a wry wit who apparently knew a little something about politics. Shaw, after all, is the one who said, “A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.”
This apparently is what President Obama is counting on as he runs for re-election. The wealthiest Americans, he tells us, need “to pay a little more.” The implication is that the wealthy aren’t paying – here comes one of those favorite phrases employed by liberal Democrats – “their fair share.”
Actually, the wealthiest among us are paying a lot more than their fair share. The top one percent of taxpayers pay almost 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top five percent pay nearly 60 percent. And the top 10 percent pay about 70 percent.
The bottom 50 percent of taxpayers pretty much don’t pay any federal income tax – less than three percent. Those are the ones with no skin in the game. Let’s call them Paul.
So it doesn’t take a political genius to figure out Barack Obama’s re-election strategy. This is the speech – with only a little exaggeration — you will be hearing a lot between now and Election Day 2012:
“If the Republicans have their way, old people will lose their homes. Many of them will be forced to live in cardboard boxes on the street. They will be eating dog food. Yes, we have to cut spending. But not that way. The Republicans will stop funding research that would save the lives of beautiful little children with cancer. That’s not the America I want to live in. And why do they want to do this? For just one reason: To make sure millionaires and billionaires don’t have to pay just a little more in taxes. If that’s the America you want, vote Republican. But I think you’re better than that.”
Let’s remember that you will be hearing some version of that speech from the man who during his first run for the White House, told us he would put an end to “the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”
From the same man who when he got his party’s nomination, said, “One of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and patriotism.”
From the same man who on election night said, “I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”
It would be a waste of time to chastise President Obama for his grandiose hypocrisy. He’s hardly the only politician who speaks out of both sides of his mouth. But for sheer cynicism, he’s the best.
Read the rest at BernardGoldberg.com.