'Hard work should be rewarded' ... or punished?


You can find Democratic talking points in the strangest places these days.

On July 18, plenty of daily papers, including the Review-Journal, ran a report by Jim Kuhnhenn and Steve Peoples of The Associated Press on the presidential campaign. It mentioned Barack Obama's now infamous statement -- yes, I've read the entire context and the statement is not "taken out of context." It's perfectly in keeping with Mr. Obama's we-owe-it-all-to-government-and-that's-why-we-need-a-bigger-government" theme -- that "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

GOP challenger Mitt Romney is quoted as responding, in part, "It's insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America . ... I'm convinced that he wants Americans to be ashamed of success."

Messrs. Kuhnhenn and Peoples then offer us a paragraph which is not attributed to anyone else -- it simply appears as what most readers would assume to be straight-down-the-middle reportage by the wire service -- just the facts, ma'am:

"A consistent part of Obama's 'bottom-up' economic message is that individual initiative and hard work should be rewarded. But in a war of words, with both sides eager to jump on any gaffe or inelegant phrase, Romney saw a way to paint Obama as a big-government Democrat."

Again, that paragraph is not attributed to any source. It's Messrs. Kuhnhenn and Peoples speaking for themselves, and for The Associated Press.

Problem is, it's not true. There was no "gaffe" here. Mr. Obama speaks in his own book about how his childhood mentor was Communist Party USA member Frank Marshall Davis (although he just calls him "Frank"). We know he studied the playbook of Saul Alinsky as a "community organizer" teaching radical workshops to ACORN activists in Chicago. He's a socialist with no experience in business or the free-market economy. Just a week before, Mr. Obama was on the campaign trail, saying that if rich folks want to go out and earn a lot of money, "They're free to do that," as though he was describing a decision to take up horseback riding or mountain climbing -- some odd but allowable hobby that anyone can take or leave, rather than the lifeblood of the American economy.

No inconsistency. No "gaffe."

Mr. Obama may, from time to time, pay LIP SERVICE to the notion that hard work and initiative should be rewarded. But in fact, our current tax code already punishes initiative and hard work by making "the rich" pay the vast majority of income and capital gains taxes collected, while those earning less than the media $36,000 pay only the Social Security and Medicare portions.

A "fair" tax is a bridge toll. Heavy trucks may pay more because they may cause more wear and tear, but the rich guy in the Mercedes pays the same $2 toll as the poor guy in the used Ford Pinto because they get the same service and cause about the same amount of wear to the pavement. The price of a can of beans at the store is fair, because the millionaire pays the same 59 cents as the laborer. Get the same, pay the same. Fair.

Only for government "services" does the rich guy -- who is far less likely to send his kids to the public schools at all -- pay most of the cost of those schools, while the poor guy who may send half a dozen kids there pays next to nothing.

And that's under our CURRENT tax structure. But Mr. Obama wants to leave tax rates where they are for most of us, while RAISING tax rates -- making the distribution of the tax load MORE inequitable -- on "the rich.'' He says this all the time. He's not the slightest bit apologetic about it.

Thus, it would be far more accurate to report "A consistent part of Obama's economic message is that individual initiative and hard work should be punished more severely than they are today, by taxing the resulting income more heavily."

As for Mr. Romney "seeing a way to paint Obama as a big-government Democrat," this is a carefully worked out (it took them days) Democratic talking point. We're starting to encounter the "paint" metaphor in letters-to-the editor this week. What else can "paint" mean but that Mr. Romney thus depicts Mr. Obama in a misleading or inaccurate way?

Someone needs to "paint" Barack Obama as a big-government Democrat? As though he's secretly a Martin Van Buren limited-government Democrat recently arrived here in a time machine from 1840? This man has eagerly participated in delivering us the largest central government, spending and borrowing the most money, in the history of this continent and of the world? He's boastfully proud of ObamaCare, which has the purpose of nationalizing 17 percent of the nation's economy. If he's been falsely "painted" as a big-government Democrat, what on earth will Mr. Obama turn out to be once we scrape the Romney paint off him? Barry Goldwater? Cal Coolidge?

Mr. Obama has had his month. I believe the Romney campaign has decided it's time to take off the gloves and start asking why we can't see Mr. Obama's health records, his college admission application, his grade transcripts, his senior thesis, a hard certified copy of his birth certificate. I believe someone may finally ask why Mr. Obama's Social Security number won't pass E-Verify (a piece of court testimony that went uncontested by Mr. Obama's attorney in the recent Georgia challenge to his ballot eligibility), and how a man who admits in his MULTIPLE autobiographies (no lack of ego, at least) that he was "the stoner" through much of high school and his first two years at Occidental suddenly got accepted to Columbia University and Harvard Law. Who paid the bills? Who paid for his round-the-world trip to Pakistan and Indonesia, from which he returned so radicalized?

I believe those questions will be asked. But probably not by Jim Kuhnhenn and Steve Peoples of The Associated Press.

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And finally, I see they're spending more of our tax money running public service radio ads insisting "There's no such thing as a safe level of second-hand smoke."

In fact, in its infamous 1993 study, in which the EPA in fact just studied a bunch of other studies, announcing in advance that it would find 3,000 deaths annually from second-hand smoke, the federals found the evidence of harm from even a LIFETIME of living with a smoker so insubstantial that they couldn't find with the standard 95 percent degree of confidence that harm had been caused, even after they narrowed their inquiry to a mere FIVE of the most useful (to their purposes) of the 30 studies examined.

So they lowered their standard to 90 percent.

They fudged their results.

And on "science" such as this, a new de facto Prohibition is now proposed.