Buffett declared in a newspaper column this month that he was paying a lower rate of taxes than his own secretary and condemned the US tax system for “coddling” the super-rich. He has long been one of Obama’s biggest contributors, as well as supporting other Democratic Party politicians.
Among a handful of other billionaires, like currency speculator George Soros, Warren Buffett has expressed the concern that the growth of social inequality in the United States, and the transparent bias in tax and budgetary policy in favor of the wealthy, could spark popular discontent and prove destabilizing politically.
Obama’s campaign for the “Buffett Rule” has produced paroxysms of delight on the part of the liberal and middle-class “left” supporters of the administration, including the editorial page of the New York Times, columnist Paul Krugman and the Nation magazine. A Times editorial hailed the tax policy as “sound economics” and a step towards social justice. The Nation called for demonstrations to encourage Obama to continue with this supposed shift to the left.
There were equally predictable howls of outrage from the far right. Neoconservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, in a typical screed, declared, “The authentic Obama is a leveler, a committed social democrat, a staunch believer in the redistributionist state, a tribune, above all, of ‘fairness’—understood as government-imposed and government-enforced equality.”
The hyperventilating on both “left” and right is only part of the political charade in which the Obama campaign seeks to repackage a right-wing, pro-Wall Street administration as the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt. This is part of its effort to delude the American people once again in the 2012 presidential election with the mirage of a “progressive” Democratic Party.