Monday, September 29, 2008

Problem with the Appeal to the Middle Class

I recently told a friend I had no plans to criticize Obama personally. I wanted to address the issues and leave personal attacks out of the discussion. I think he believes he has a better plan for the good of the majority of Americans. I don’t think his plan will work. I am frustrated that his approach seems to be to pit the classes against each other.

It appears to me that Barack Obama and the Democrats are promoting an emotional/psychological form of class warfare in an attempt to get elected. The day after the debate they ran an ad asking what words were missing from McCain during the debate, the answer “middle class.” Obama had used the phrase many times. He wants us to believe he is the only one concerned about us, the middle class. The more significant question is why was there little or no reference by either candidate to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, widows, orphans, or the elderly?

Obama’s favorite targets for attack (other than John McCain) are big businesses, their greedy executives, and the greedy rich people who work on Wall Street; they all need to pay more taxes. Think about it; he sees himself as Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the ... middle class. He promises to keep jobs in America. How can he do that by raising taxes on businesses? Companies take jobs to other countries because it is cheaper to manufacture there. Primarily, materials are cheaper, or labor is cheaper, or taxes are cheaper, or a combination of the three. The one factor our government can most directly control is taxes. In short, raise taxes on business, send jobs elsewhere.

The other problem is that Obama does not seem to recognize that we all own stock in those big businesses, or at least 75% of Americans own stock in them (granted, a figure I heard on TV). Most of us don’t think of ourselves as stock holders but we are, mostly through our retirement funds. Attacks on big business are attacks on our selves. This doesn't even address the most direct affect of taxing businesses; taxes are passed on to the consumer by way of higher prices.

Yes, the pay of some executives is obscene, but not criminal. The stock holders should rise up and replace the Boards of those companies insisting that executive pay be appropriate to the value of their service. The government should not be setting pay scales for executives. If they can do that, they can set all of our salaries. [I don’t object to limiting salaries for those companies that might be bailed out in this current crises; we the people are becoming major stock holders and have a right to expect such restrictions.]

My first point is simply that we need big businesses (and small business) to prosper so that we can all prosper. The greedy people on Wall Street are for the most part no more greedy than those of us who tried to take advantage of the inflation of real estate prices and over extended our debt structure. My second point is that we the people as consumers and stockholders should exercise our voice to influence business practices, something I have personally failed to do.

We need a President who can bring us together without taking us apart.

1 comment:

Phil Hoover, Chicago said...

The only problem with the whole "middle class" debate is that according to the definitions of both McCain and Obama, I'm nowhere close to being "middle class"...

I'm not even in the upper quadrant of "lower class" by their definitions.