The same policies that got us into the mess in the first place, as he’s so fond of saying himself, including but not limited to these:
We can glean this much: He’d like to hire 100,000 new teachers and he wants to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires.” That’s a flimsy agenda for a great nation. Does it even make sense?
Let’s start with the teachers. This may be an old-fashioned idea, but shouldn’t states and localities decide how many teachers they need? Isn’t it just possible that Bangor, Me. might need fewer teachers and Yuma, Ariz. might need more?
We’ve been hiring greater numbers of teachers for decades now, casting our ballots for candidates who promise that a vote for more teachers is a vote for a better future. In the process, we dramatically reduced class sizes and boosted the power of the teachers’ unions. As education reformer Jay Greene points out, in 1970 public schools employed one teacher for every 22.3 students. By 2012, the public schools employed one teacher for every 15.2 students. Yet student achievement has remained stubbornly flat during that period. The best evidence suggests that teacher quality, not class size, is the best guarantor of student success. And those goals may be in conflict. When you hire more teachers, there’s less money available to offer higher salaries to better teachers.
So Obama’s 100,000 new teachers proposal is at once an affront to federalism, a sop to the unions, and a waste of precious resources that could be better used to actually improve public education.
The second part of the president’s plan is to force “millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share” of taxes. First: a translation. When Obama refers to millionaires and billionaires, he’s talking about those earning $200,000 per year for an individual or $250,000 per year for a couple. That’s the actual proposal. So if you are in that income group, congratulations, you’re a millionaire or billionaire!
Obama doesn’t really pretend, or not very energetically, that raising taxes on “the rich” is a deficit reduction measure. He promotes it as “fairness” and circulates the flatly outrageous fiction that the wealthy pay less than their secretaries. Romney attempted to correct this at the second debate by promising “the top 5 percent will continue to pay 60 percent of income taxes.” A nation in which the top 1 percent earns 23.5 percent of national income but pays 40 percent of income taxes is not suffering from a lack of progressivity.
In 2008, then Senator Obama told Charlie Gibson that he’d support raising the capital gains tax despite the clear evidence that reducing the rate under Clinton had led to increased revenue from the rich to the Treasury. Treasury shmeasury, he just likes to raise taxes.
Yep. He also likes to flap his gums about “cutting spending” and his “balanced approach” to deficit reduction, which he patently doesn’t give a tinker’s dam about. He’s never once proposed any significant cuts, or any real cuts at all. As always, for him it’s about telling people what he thinks they want to hear, creating a diversion so he can get on with destroying America That Was and remaking it. That’s his real agenda, but since it has so obviously failed (as it must) to produce anything resembling prosperity or even recovery, he doesn’t seem to like talking openly about it as much anymore.
Update! Related, sorta, but mostly just funny:
It was arguably Ronald Reagan’s favorite joke. In one version, two kids — one an optimist, the other a pessimist — rush downstairs on Christmas morning. The pessimistic kid gets a new bike and weeps that he’ll probably break it soon. The optimistic kid is presented with an enormous pile of manure and squeals with delight: “There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
In fact, the joke took on a life of its own in the Reagan White House. Whenever bad news came in, someone would remark, “There’s got to be a pony in there somewhere.”
Barack Obama, who always wanted to be a liberal version of Ronald Reagan, has his own version of the joke. It’s not particularly funny, alas. In Obama’s telling, the kid runs downstairs, sees a huge pile of manure and yells, “Yay! Manure! Who needs a pony!”
Jonah wades around in the excrement, and comes up with some odoriferous facts Ogabe would much rather remain buried. But then, horseshit has always been Obama’s stock in trade.