Mike Kueber's Blog

September 28, 2012

President Obama’s economic patriotism

Filed under: Economics,Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 2:18 am

The Obama campaign launched a new theme today called “economic patriotism,” using the term in a Virginia speech and new political ads.  The term has a nice sound to it – what could be wrong with calling for some patriotism? – and is reminiscent of the war bonds sold during WWI and WWII.

But there is plenty wrong with President Obama’s economic patriotism because it is merely a euphemism for enlarging government and raising the taxes on the rich.  Since when is patriotism – i.e., the willingness to sacrifice for one’s country – something that is directed only at the rich?

More troubling is the possibility that President Obama will expand the concept of economic patriotism to stifle the free market.  In his Virginia speech and the new political ads, he refers to the importance of an expanded middle class.  Well, that is something that everybody agrees on; the question is how to achieve that without severely damaging the economy.  Socialistic redistribution may enlarge the middle class, but it will also ensure that the economic pie to be shared becomes smaller and smaller.

One blogger has suggested that the term “economic patriotism” is Orwellian.  This suggestion is based on George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian novel titled Nineteen Eighty-Four about a totalitarian government called Big Brother, a Ministry of Plenty that oversees shortages and famine, and a Ministry of Peace that oversees wars.  Yes, I agree that there is Orwellian satire in Obama describing increased taxes as a form of patriotism.          

Personally, my initial reaction upon hearing the term economic patriotism was to think about Ayn Rand’s 1957 dystopian novel titled Atlas Shrugged.  The federal government in Atlas Shrugged interfered extensively with business, ostensibly in the public interest, but actually in the service of special interests.  Eventually, this interference destroyed laissez-faire capitalism and the economy foundered.  Among the Orwellian terms coined by Rand’s federal government were “The Anti-Dog-Eat-Dog Rule” (to protect the Chryslers and GMs of that time), “The Equalization of Opportunity Bill” (to prevent successful companies from expanding into other lines of business), and “The Anti-Greed Act” (to redistribute income).  The result was the erosion of capital and the proliferation of looters, moochers, and parasites.

In one of his new political ads, President Obama talks about the shared American values of hard work, personal responsibility, and helping your neighbor.  The problem is that his energy seems directed at taking from the hard-working, responsible Americans and giving to his special interests. 

That is socialism, not patriotism.  You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse.


1 Comment »

  1. MIke,

    I am always amazed when a hard-working American comes to the aid of the rich and their right not to have their taxes raised. First off, did you notice that Romney had no “earned” income? What does that mean? It means that he does not have a job. Well what is his tax rate? 15%. What is mine? 35%! Now was it always like that? No, politicians made it like that just a few years ago when they dropped the capital gains tax rate to 15% from 28%. Does that help you and I? Not nearly so much as the “trust babies.”

    Why is it socialism for tax rates to be adjusted? Why is it wrong to ask trust babies to pay the same rate of taxes that you and I pay? How is that class warfare? If it is class warfare, has the warfare not been waged against those of us who “earn” our income? Do you not agree that the tax code is already skewed towards the wealthy in this country? Do you agree that the tax code can either benefit the super wealthy or be fair?

    No, please don’t raise taxes on guys like Romney! Please don’t adjust the tax code so that he can’t take a 70K deduction for his dressage horse costs while making us amortize our costs in remodeling our offices.

    It is the super wealthy (Limbaugh, Hannity, Romney) who advocate class warfare because now that they have the position that they want in the tax code, it becomes “socialistic” or “class warfare” to advocate a fair tax system. If Romney thinks that Americans believe that he can reduce taxes for everyone (including his own) while balancing the budget and addressing the deficit, then he believes that he can fool all of the people all of the time. This wealthy Republican mantra has only fooled Republicans (especially the working class Republicans). It won’t fool the American people.


    By the way, i just read the interview with Ted Cruz in this edition of Texas Monthly. He went to Princeton and Harvard Law and spouts anti-intellectual bullshit like he is a redneck. Either he is a hypocrite or he is not as smart as he claims to be. Wait, in retrospect, he simply knows how to appeal to a typical Republican voter. Wait and see if he doesn’t line his pockets when he gets to the trough.

    Comment by Robert Icenhauer-Ramirez — September 28, 2012 @ 2:32 am | Reply

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