When it was announced that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniel’s would give the response to the State of the Union address, hopes were high that he might take it to Obama–that he might meet the rhetoric of class warfare with an exposition of free markets, personal responsibility, smaller government, etc. But instead, what we heard last night from Daniels was more class warfare aimed at the rich.
For example, after saying some good things, even some great things, about the debt President Obama’s reckless spending has put us in–“an unprecedented explosion of spending has added trillions to an already unaffordable national debt”–Daniels went after the wealthy in this county in much the same way we’d expect Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid to do.
Consider the way he spoke of reviving Medicare and social security:
We must unite to save the safety net. Medicare and social security have served us well [and] we can preserve them unchanged and untouched for those in or near retirement, but we must fashion a new safety net so future Americans are protected too.
Decades ago we could afford to send millionaires pension checks and pay medical bills for even the wealthiest among us, now we can’t. So the dollars we have should be devoted to those who need them most.
Do you see that? According to Daniels, people who are wealthy shouldn’t receive social security “pension” checks or Medicare benefits. And what’s the difference between what Daniels is saying and what Obama says when he tells the wealthy to “pay their fair share”? It’s like Daniels took a page straight out of Class Warfare 101.
And what’s worse, Daniels is completely overlooking the fact that “the wealthy” receive social security checks because they paid into social security: it’s not like they’re receiving checks for something they didn’t earn. So in a real sense, Daniels is saying that the money the wealthy paid into social security should go to others instead. It’s like a whole new entitlement.
If you think I take Daniels’ words too far, consider his statement on taxes from last night:
It’s absolutely so that everyone should contribute to our national recovery, including of course, the most affluent among us…[One way to do this] is to stop sending the wealthy benefits they do not need, and stop providing them so many tax preferences that distort our economy and do little or nothing to foster growth.
Does Daniels understand that to stop providing “tax preferences” is the same thing as raising taxes? And has history not proven that when the wealthy have money we all have money? Did Daniels somehow miss the boom of the Reagan years during “trickle down economics” or fail to study the theretofore unprecedented boom we experienced with the same kind of polices under Calvin Coolidge?
Bottom line: If we’re going to respond to Obama’s class warfare by attacking the wealthy, then we might as well give up and go home right now. We can’t beat Obama at his own game.