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Obama's anti-jobs, anti-growth budget

| Monday, Feb. 20, 2012

In putting together his fiscal 2013 budget -- more a political speech than a realistic effort at fixing anything -- President Obama didn't have to do a lot of homework or original thinking.

The budget's three key proposals could have been directly copied from the protest signs in the streets of Chicago outside the Democratic National Convention in 1968 -- cut the military, expand the welfare state and tax the rich.

Actually, the protest signs in the streets where I was at that time said "Eat the Rich."

They're still selling the cookbooks. One version, keeping up with current scams, includes a recipe for Ponzi Pecan Pie: 2 cups pecans, 200 shares of Citibank, 1 stick melted butter, 2 ounces minced Bernie Madoff, 1 cup each of brown sugar and molasses.

There's also a Hedge Fund Hummus: 3 cups cooked garbanzo beans, 2 tablespoons Oil of Oligarch and 2 pureed hedge fund managers.

The hippies and peaceniks at the Minneapolis chapter of Food Not Bombs are selling a less violent, more passive collection of class warfare recipes (unless you think carrots have feelings), a "lovely vegan cookbook titled 'Eat the Rich,' $2 by mail or $1.50 (or whatever donation) in person."

No one needs to be dragged from his Lamborghini to be included in the ingredients.

They're also selling "RISE UP, Class Warfare in America from the Streets to the Airwaves" by the co-founder of San Francisco Liberation Radio -- a fun read while you're whipping up a batch of Che Brulee.

In any case, the Obama budget calls for a doubling of taxation on dividends to 30 percent from today's 15 percent, a doubling of taxation on capital gains to 30 percent from today's 15 percent, an income tax hike on anyone earning more than $200,000, or $250,000 for couples, and a 29 percent increase in the federal inheritance tax to 45 percent from 35 percent.

Reports The Wall Street Journal regarding the proposed tax hike on incomes above $200,000 and $250,000, "These are the 3 percent of taxpayers that Mr. Obama says aren't paying their fair share, though the 3 percent pay more in income tax than the rest of the other 97 percent," i.e., the top 3 percent earn 30 percent of all income and pay 52 percent of all federal income taxes.

The proposed 30 percent tax on capital gains and dividends is on top of a federal corporate income tax of up to 35 percent, a rate that even Obama acknowledges is "one of the highest in the world."

In addition, since capital gains aren't indexed for inflation, Obama is calling for a doubling of the federal tax on illusionary gains.

Just at the federal level, not counting local and state taxes, this double taxation on dividends and capital gains, combined with Obama's proposed tax increases, means the federal government would be receiving a larger share of the income from investments than those who did the investing.

There's also a new "global minimum tax" on the agenda, says Obama's chief economic adviser, Gene Sperling.

And Obama is proposing an increase in the tax rate on dividends from 15 percent to as much as 39.6 percent for households earning more than $250,000 a year. The White House said the measure would raise taxes by an additional $20 billion a year. That's two days of federal spending.

And we're supposed to believe that none of this will have a negative impact on investments and job creation.

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