We have been writing for quite a while about the desperate tone of the Obama campaign’s fundraising emails. Lately, it has gotten to the point where even the New York Times has tut-tutted a bit. The latest came today from Nancy Pelosi. It is understated as usual:
From: Nancy Pelosi [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:38 PM
To: Hinderaker, John H.
Subject: biggest day ever! [Ed.: It is interesting that the Democrats almost never use capital letters in the subject lines of their pleas for money. Not sure what is going on there.]
In just a few hours, Speaker Boehner, Eric Cantor, and House Republicans are holding a vote to extend the Bush tax cuts for the rich.
Will you help us reach 250,000 signatures on our petition calling for an end to these reckless tax cuts for the wealthy?
Add your name here >>
Thanks to your unprecedented grassroots support, we’re holding House Republicans accountable for putting millionaires and billionaires ahead of the middle class.
– Yesterday, you helped break our all-time record for online donations in one day! Over 25,000 of you stepped up to help us win a Democratic majority for President Obama. Watch one of our new ads you helped make possible >>
– Last weekend, our field organizers and volunteers went neighbor-to-neighbor and house-to-house to alert voters about Republicans’ latest plan to put tax breaks for millionaires ahead of the middle class. Check out some of the photos — and sign up to volunteer in your area >>
We can’t thank you enough for making this all possible. Onward to a tremendous Democratic victory!
Well, Nancy, I have a few questions for you. Didn’t the Democratic House of Representatives pass a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax rates in 2010? And didn’t the Democratic Senate likewise pass a two-year extension of the same rates? And what president signed that extension of the Bush era tax rates–just like the one the House passed today–into law? Wasn’t that Barack Obama? So, when the Democrats extended the same rates in 2010, was it “reckless tax cuts for the wealthy?” Was it “putting millionaires and billionaires ahead of the middle class” when the Democrats did it? Back then, Barack Obama said it was a bad idea to raise taxes in a recession. What’s changed? Is Obama now willing to raise taxes because he thinks “the private sector is doing fine?” Or is this whole thing nothing but craven political posturing for November’s election?
Then we have Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, the man who was unable to say whether President Obama’s proposed FY 2013 budget would or would not increase spending. The arithmetic apparently was too tough for him. It’s a good thing they didn’t ask him to identify the capital of Israel.
But I digress. Yesterday, Zients was testifying before the House Armed Services Committee and was asked about the impending sequestration of $500 billion in defense spending. He volunteered the opinion that it’s all the Republicans’ fault:
“What is holding us up right now is the Republican refusal to have the top two percent [of earners] pay their fair share,” Zients said in response to a question from Rep. Randy Forbes (R., Va.).
“The root cause problem here is the Republican refusal to ask the top two percent to pay their fair share,” he reiterated, much to the surprise of several committee members who slammed Zients for turning a practical hearing aimed at preventing catastrophic defense cuts into a partisan blame game.
Zients’ partisan remarks appeared to shock Rep. Mike Turner (R., Ohio), who chastised the Obama administration for showing a lack of seriousness about a series of cuts that will shrink America’s military and imperil the country’s national security.
Zients’s claim was absurd on several counts. Jamie Fly, executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative, responded:
“It is stunning that the White House is willing to hold our men and women in uniform hostage to their desire to raise taxes,” said Jamie Fly, executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative. “Congressional Republicans have laid out a specific plan for fixing current law to avoid this impending nightmare scenario. The White House has not offered any specific proposals and seems only interested in playing politics with America’s national security.”
Personally, I would like to cross-examine Zients on his concept of “fair share.” Currently, the top one percent of taxpayers pay around 40% of all federal income taxes, which are the taxes that Zients referred to. I don’t think the IRS publishes figures for the top two percent, but it likely would comprise more than half of all federal income taxes–while, meanwhile, half of the population pays no income taxes at all. So, Mr. Zients, if 50% isn’t the top two percent’s “fair share,” what is? 60%? 70%? Is it the Obama administration’s conception of democracy that a tiny handful should bear the nation’s entire financial burden, and everyone else should be a free rider?
Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Jeffrey Zients don’t believe a word they are saying. They all know perfectly well that upper-income Americans pay their fair share of taxes, by any rational standard. But they can’t defend their record, so this kind of shameless pandering is all they have left.