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October 21, 2012

Column: If only Obama meant what he actually said

(Continued)

Is that unfair? If it is, then it is arguably unfair for anyone to make more money than anyone else. Or, perhaps the president thinks it is unfair for anybody to make income from investments. If the rule is unfair, and the president really wants everybody to “play by the same set of rules, then he and Congress could change it for everybody, and tax all investment at 28 percent, 35 percent, 90 percent – whatever.

But that is not what Obama wants to do. He wants to tax investment income at a lower rate for people making less than $200,000 (above which, in the president’s fantasy world, you become a “millionaire”) and tax it at a higher rate for incomes above that.

Bottom line: Obama doesn’t want everybody to play by the same set of rules, because he doesn’t like the results.

The same is true in multiple other cases. Those employed by government at all levels get better pay, much better benefits – health care, vacation, personal time, overtime – and vastly better pensions than their average counterpart in the private sector. In most cases they can retire with that pension after 30 years or less, instead of the usual 40-45 years in the private sector.

Obama has never objected to one of his favored constituencies playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us.

The same was true of the government bailout of General Motors. Obama, who regularly applauds himself for “betting on American workers” (with your money) forced bondholders to play by a different set of rules than the unions, so he could reward his friends in organized labor and leave the rest who, if the “same set of rules” had been followed, would not have been forced to take a much bigger haircut.

Affirmative action is a major set of different rules for different people. There are substantive arguments on both sides about whether it is still useful and necessary to maintain and promote diversity and opportunity for minorities or not, but that is not the issue here. The issue is that the president does not want everybody to play by the same set of rules.

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