Lol. Atrios says that Charlie Gibson and George Snuffleupagus were "gang raping democracy" last night because they asked Obamessiah confrontational questions rather than simply genuflecting and prostrating themselves. Yes, that's right. If your preferred candidate is forced to suffer the indignity of facing and uncomfortable question, it's the very same thing as Democracy Herself suffering one of the most brutal, violent crimes imaginable. Whatever.
Anyways, I actually watched the debate last night. I hadn't planned to, but I happened to be visiting some pro-Obama friends' house, and they had it on, and, well, I got sucked in. I thought Obama did better than most of the Monday morning quarterbacks seem to be giving him credit for. I was a bit surprised this morning to find the punditocracy nearly unanimous in viewing Obama's performance as dreadful, but oh well. I often disagree with those folks.
And even though I thought he performed as well as could be expected, he also finally and definitively destroyed any chance that I could be sanguine about an Obama presidency. Hillary I can live with. Obama I can't. He lost me in this exchange with gang-rapist Charlie Gibson. In it, Gibson points out that cuts in the capital gains rate often results in more revenue, while increasing rates results in less. In response, Obama seems to be saying that raising revenue is less important than taking money away from rich people. That's a bit too socialist for my tastes.
Look, I'm not totally unsympathetic to the whole "tax fairness" thing, but why does tax fairness always seem to mean raising taxes? Why couldn't fairness be achieved by cutting rates on earned income to bring them in line with long term capital gains? Or be revenue neutral about it and split the difference. Set them both at (say) 25%.
But no, that doesn't seem to be the direction Obama wants to move in. He seems more inclined to raise every tax he can find -- income to 39.5%, capital gains to 28%, dividends to 39.5%, and the estate tax all the way back up to 55%. To top it all off, his elimination of the FICA cap would add an additional 12.4% at the margin for self-employed entrepreneurs. (For salaried folk, you'd have a 6.2% increase, along with a de facto increase in our corporate tax, already among the very highest in this tax-competitive, global economy, a fact which even Charlie Rangel seems to appreciate.)
Oh well. I'm sure none of this stuff will prevent him from winning the Democratic nomination. Come November, however, I think it'll be a different story.