Thursday, April 24, 2008
Personal Aside: Theological Wonk Quiz Question 4: World Without End? But How Does This Square with Heaven and Earth Will Pass Away?...Obama on the Economy.
Spirited and deeply reflective comments from all. To the question why Jesus submitted to baptism when He was God, Jesse Taylor avers He didnt have to but was obedient to Jewish law. Frank Nofsinger remembers the book by Benedict XVI which points out that assuredly He was sinless but as He took on the sins of the world for redemption of the world, He decided to be baptized. All excellent.
The answer most theologians prefer: As a forerunner of the Messiah, John had instigated an sweeping campaign of repentance. Before John, Jews had baptized only proselytes but never other Jews assuming that as children of Abraham they needed no baptism. But Johns stern message changed all that and instilled in Jews recognition of their own need of repentance. This is why Jesus came to John and why He told John: It is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness [Mt. 3:15].
Fulfilling all righteousness would require that the sinless Lord further identify Himself with sinful humanity so as to give us an example to follow though He had no need of repentance. I give it to Jesse Taylor on points though Frank Nofsinger if he is quoting Benedict right by memory is tied. Congratulations all.
Query 4: World Without End? Wait a Minute!
When they pray what is known as the Glory Be, Catholic conclude with the phrase world without end. But how does that square with Christs words Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away[Lk 21:33]. Which is it?
Obama on the Economy.
Barack Obama and his followers are still criticizing ABCs anchors George Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson in the recent debate by peppering him with questions on Jeremiah Wright and Billy Ayres, saying that much more substantial issues needed to be raised. But there were such questions raised later in the program by Charlie Gibson and Obama didnt really cover himself with glory in his answers.
Here are the economic questions Gibson askedand Obamas answersthe questions showing that unique among mainstream media reporters, Gibson is intimately familiar with taxation. Obamas answers show that he is not as interested in a tax program that will serve as an incentive to collecting more revenuebut that he wishes to use the tax code to redistribute wealth and penalize the wealthy which is the classic Marxist formula. Here is the dialogue in its pertinent parts:
GIBSON: You have however said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC and I quote: I certrainluy would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28%. Its now 15%. Thats almost a doubling if you went to 28%. But actually Bill Clinton dropped the capital gains tax to 20%.
GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28%, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what Ive said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness. We saw an article today which showed that the top 50 hedge fund managers made $29 billion last year--$29 billion for 50 individuals. And part of what has happened is that those who are able to work the stock market and amass huge fortunes on capital gains are paying a lower tax rate than their secretaries. Thats not fair.
Stop Right There.
Thats not fair.
Do you see the difference in philosophy? Instead of setting a goal of raising more revenue, Obama really does want to penalize those who are successfula detriment to the free market system. This is a classic statement of punitive action, leveling a burden heedless of whether more revenue is gained or not. This alone would be reason to defeat him. By this statement he is actively contradicting the entire rationale of economic growth. It is no name-calling implied classic socialism. The Marxian theory does not concern itself with economic growth but with economic contraction, the counterpoint to Adam Smith. All of the Marxian theory rests on a first assumption: a severing of any natural link between self-interest and the common good. Classic collectivism.
We Resume the Colloquy.
OBAMA (continues): And what I want is not oppressive taxation. I want businesses to thrive and I want people to be rewarded for their success. But what I also want to make sure is that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently dont have it and that were able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools
What I want is not oppressive taxation. But here Obama is encasing himself in political rhetoric that stitches together contradictions so it sounds nice. Capitalist production involves faithin ones own initiative, in ones neighbors, in ones society. Search and you shall find, give and you will be given unto: supply creates its own demand. It requires allowing the entrepreneur to keep as much money for himself as is possible consistent with the need to finance the government. Obama wants the government, not the market, to adjudge fairness. The socialist economy starts with a definition of needs and proceeds from there to a prescription of planned supplies. In a socialist economy, one does not supply until the demands have been specified. Here Obama is following classic socialist dogma. We must finance health care for Americans i.e. by the government. The government always aids this activity and Obama is specifying that the growth of the economy and freedom comes after more investment i.e. spending. We must invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools. We already do but he is saying the well-being of the economy, allowing entrepreneurial freedom, comes AFTER more expenditures for our schools and infrastructure. Classic Marxian planning.
GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.
OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not. It depends on whats happening on Wall Street and how business is going. I think the biggest problem that weve got on Wall Street right now is the fact that weve got a housing crisis that this president has not been attentive to and that it took John McCain three tries before he got it right.
And if we can stabilize that market and we can get credit flowing again, then I think well see stocks do well and once again I think we can generate the revenue that we need to run this government and hopefully to pay down some of this debt.
See what this is? Its classic switch the subject. He dodges the straight up or down nature of Gibsons question on economic growth by detouring to the housing and credit issues, another issue entirelyand a serious one-- but which deserves separate treatment. Gibson is talking about economic theory here, not housing and credit. Obama knows this and dodges. It is a diversion. He cannot or will not come clean on this issue. Why? I think its his inflexible collectivism. He simply will not concede that over the past 50 years whenever the tax rate on capital gains has risen, tax revenues have tumbled. It happened in the 1990s and the 1980s under Reagancertainly in the 1960s under Jack Kennedy. Thats the reason Clinton agreed with the tax rate being cut from 28% to 20%.
Once again to refresh you: Obama says he would not raise taxes on middle-income earners, people he describes with annual income lower than between $200,000 and $250,000. But hes for nearly doubling the top current capital gains rate to 28%. The simple truth is that Obamas tax hike would slug tens of millions of Americans earning under $200,000 since in 2005, 47% of all tax returns consisting partially of capital gains came from households with incomes under $50,000---79% from households with incomes below $100,000.
Republicans shouldnt need Jeremiah Wright or Billy Ayres to defeat Obama in the general. His tax plan should do it. But you must reckon with the great American publics Sleepy Eye. It is asleep now. It will flutter its lid open during the climactic debate between Obama and McCain. Numbers are habitually the hardest thing to concentrate on in a debatebut if voters fully understand the disaster Obama will make of the economy and to them, they will vote against him.
It depends on the Sleepy Eye. Will it flutter open long enough to perceive it?