Go back to April 15. There was a debate in the Democratic primaries. This exchange occurred with questioner Charlie Gibson, of ABC news:
He goes on to complain that some people make too much money. Apparently he believes that fairness, as he defines it, is something the government ought to enforce. It apparently does not matter that the government will collect more revenue, which would seem to be more fair, since that means the poor pay less. Some people make too much. That's not fair!
MR. GIBSON: You have however said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, "I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent."
It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.
SENATOR OBAMA: Right.
MR. GIBSON: And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent.
SENATOR OBAMA: Right.
MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
Jump back to May 2007. Obama appeared on ABC's This Week, and got into a discussion of affirmative action. He is now suggesting that since his daughters, and other members of the black middle class, do not need affirmative action, but now we should begin to look toward affirmative action on the basis of class.
STEPHANOPOULOS: ...You've been a strong supporter of affirmative action...
STEPHANOPOULOS: ... and you're a constitutional law professor,
so let's go back in the classroom. I'm your student, I say,
"Professor, you and your wife went to Harvard Law School. You've got
plenty of money. You're running for president. Why should your
daughters, when they go to college, get affirmative action?"
OBAMA: Well, first of all, I think that my daughters should
probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty
advantaged, and I think that there's nothing wrong with us taking that
into account as we consider admissions policies at universities.
I think that we should take into account white kids who have been
disadvantaged and have grown up in poverty and shown themselves to
have what it takes to succeed.
The question arises than, if we no longer need affirmative action on the basis of race, are going to place it on the basis of class for college admissions, we also going to have affirmative action on the basis of class for government contracts, for government jobs, private-sector hiring requirements for people of certain classes?
I remember a long time ago a 60 Minutes interview with the Sex Pistols. At the end of the interview, the announcer commented that the Sex Pistols did not sound very revolutionary at all. They had very middle-class/upper class aspirations. They wanted to own a nice home in the country and a couple of cars and to have all the comforts of home that the upper class had.
That is how an awful lot of Americans are. We may talk about revolution; we may talk about change; we may care very much for the downtrodden in society, but at the end of the day we mostly see ourselves as middle-class, and we all aspire to do better personally, even if we aren't willing to work at it. For this reason, I believe that appeals to class warfare and taking away what someone else has legally earned in the name of fairness will continue to fall on deaf ears.