The Politics of The “F” Word
Rick Santorum’s not the only one using 4-letter words.
While the political back-and-forth of the last few months has certainly made even the most casual observer want to release a string of expletives, “the f-word” at the center of this post isn’t one that’s going to get me an FCC fine, or even a firm scolding from my mother. At face value, the word is so innocuous that it’s being thrown around on a daily basis by the media, members of Congress, and even President Obama. Taken in context, however, this word has the potential to do far more damage than any R-rated slip-of-the-tongue. The word is “fair,” and it hardly means what you think it does.
By the book definition, to be “fair” is to be free from bias, dishonesty, and injustice. Without much effort, the first flaw in President Obama’s fairness campaign is uncovered. If he boasts on the trail that his policies are more fair to the lower and middle classes, he must concede that that they are automatically, at least by definition, less fair to the upper-middle and upper classes. That’s not conservative spin, that’s simply comparing the definition of a word to how that word is actually used. As logical as that may sound, the idea of fairness has been redefined by President Obama and Democratic leaders to mean something completely different; a sort of “selective fairness.” In speeches all across the country, President Obama has pushed the idea that fairness for the less fortunate can only be reached at the expense of the most fortunate. Sure, he’s trying to energize the Democratic base by pitting them against the Robber Barons of the right; it is, after all, an election year. But what President Obama either doesn’t realize or — even worse — doesn’t mind, is that he’s pushing rhetoric that makes as much sense as electing a half-term Senator to the highest office in the land.
Of all the absurdities that this administration feeds the masses, the most egregious has to be that higher taxes on higher income earners somehow restores wealth to the lower classes and bridges the income gap. That idea is, at least publicly, the reasoning behind President Obama’s proposal to enact the Buffett Rule and allow tax cuts for the highest earners to expire. He’s right that these moves will shrink the income gap, but it certainly won’t be because his policies led to raises for any minimum wage workers. In fact, his “success taxes” could easily have the adverse effect as those who can afford to invest and hire minimum wage workers see their invest-able income decrease. The left likes to cry foul when high-wealth individuals are called “job creators,” but if not them, who else? How many lower income earners do you know who have people on their payroll?
Having said that, I might be less repulsed by a tax increase if it was in the name of fiscal responsibility, but have you seen the man’s latest budget? In it are $200 billion in new taxes for 2013 and a projected budget deficit that’s still hovering around $1 trillion. So here we have the evil “one percent,” who already pay over 40 percent of all taxes so the bottom 50 percent can pay almost nothing, paying even more to Uncle Sam and we can’t even make enough cuts to get a remotely balanced budget? I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty unfair even to me, a poor college student. Of course, fairness to wealthy individuals isn’t really on the President’s radar because, well, he doesn’t need their vote if he can convince enough less prosperous individuals that they are where they are because of Corporate America.
Despite the fact that numbers say the opposite, President Obama will continue to claim that he’s the Fairest of Them All. If his competition were the King of Sweden, who presides over a country with a 57 percent top tax rate, then he may be right. In the United States, however, Representative Paul Ryan, the man whom President Obama has called a “Social Darwinist,“ has offered a far more fair and responsible budget than anything that’s originated in the Oval Office. In his budget proposal for 2013, Rep. Ryan calls for tax cuts across the board, consolidating the current five-bracket tax code into a simpler two-bracket system. The new system would tax those making over $250,000 at 25 percent and those making less than $250,000 at 10 percent. Ryan’s plan even goes as far as to close the loopholes that allow millionaires to skirt hundreds of thousands in taxes. On top of all that, the Ryan budget deficit is projected to shrink the deficit gradually over the next decade.
So, who is the most fair: the man who wants a handful of successful people to hold up the country with huge tax increases, or the man who wants to broaden the tax base and lower taxes for every single tax payer? By definition, it’s obviously the latter, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince the masses and the media of that because they are far more interested in rhetoric than facts.
Kent McCarty | Southern Miss University | Hattiesburg, Mississippi