In the past few months, Obama has had time to play golf. He’s had time to fill out his NCAA basketball playoff bracket. He’s had time to go to Chile, a country prone to terrible earthquakes, and sell them new nuclear reactors. He’s had time to go to Florida and tell Jeb Bush what a great job he did on education. He’s had time to be a “bridge” between John Boehner and Harry Reid.
Obama did not have time to go to Wisconsin.
That would be the same Wisconsin whose unions donated money and turned out for him at mass rallies so that Obama could collect Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes in 2008.
That would be the same Wisconsin which was so demoralized by Obama’s first two years of broken promises that Democrats didn’t turn out in 2010, thus dooming Russ Feingold to defeat in the Senate and allowing the election of Scott Walker as governor.
All of which is fine with Obama. Having Republicans in Congress and in statehouses makes it easier for him to break his promises to the voters and do what Wall Street wants him to do. It’s a formula that worked for Bill Clinton, the man from Hope. Why wouldn’t it work for the man from Hope and Change?
I suppose Obama will be shameless enough to go back to Wisconsin in 2012 and ask for votes from the same union members whom he betrayed when they needed him. I also suppose that the people of Wisconsin (and the rest of the United States) will be even more demoralized in 2012. Why should they help re-elect a president when he won’t help them fight a governor who is trying to destroy their way of life?
If I were Obama, I’d be ashamed to go back to Wisconsin. I’d be ashamed to go anywhere.
Will anyone challenge Obama from the left? Seems unlikely in the primaries. Maybe Nader again outside the party. I’ve been voting for him since 1996, but I suspect he’s not too jazzed at the prospect of taking all the abuse again.
That leaves the Republicans, almost all of whom are stupid and insane. I say “almost.” There is one among them who just went to second place in the NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll for the Republican nomination. He’s one of the most obnoxious creeps on television. He’s a real estate speculator. He’s a casino owner. He’s a bully. He names all his buildings after himself. He tears up ecologically sensitive areas to build golf courses. He’s written a lot of terrible books, which inspired hundreds of terrible books by other obnoxious creeps. He runs a bunch of beauty pageants. He is the butt of jokes every night on television because of his strange hair. He makes $1.5 million for one-hour lectures at the Learning Annex. He’s one more blowhard in the parade of rich guys who think that hoarding money qualifies them to run the government.
Who is this political savior? Donald Trump.
I would say there’s nothing not to hate about Donald Trump, except that there is one thing I don’t hate about Donald Trump. He is a traitor to his class.
In 1999, when he was vaguely running for president, he proposed a wealth tax.
Donald Trump: Best in class
Wealth is the difference between your assets and your debt. The overwhelming majority of Americans have negative wealth, no wealth, or a tiny sliver of a smidgen of wealth which serves as an insurance policy against tough times, like now. The most wealthy among us have truly unimaginable amounts, more than anyone could spend in a hundred lifetimes, enough to control pretty much everything. They get the wealth, and everyone else gets credit cards and the spectacle of a bogus democracy.
The first time I heard that Donald Trump wanted to tax wealth, I thought, “You mean we don’t already do that? What the hell are we taxing?”
Apparently they have heard of it in barbaric backwaters like France, which taxes accumulated wealth progressively at a rate if 0 to 1.8% per year.
Bill Gates has wealth to the tune of $56 billion. He says he wants to give it all away, but since his wealth was $54 billion last year, it’s fair to say he’s not giving it away fast enough. What is the guy’s problem? He thinks there aren’t enough worthy causes out there? If we taxed Gates’ wealth at the same rate they do in France, the government would get over $1 billion more every year, and Gates would still be getting richer.
In 1999, Donald Trump proposed a one-time wealth tax of 14.25% on people worth more than $10 million to pay off the national debt. Why not? Is there any legitimate argument against making the ruling class pay off a debt that they bribed Congress into running up? Bill Gates would be out almost $8 billion at the Trump rate. You could invade several small countries with that kind of money. Or pave roads. Fund Planned Parenthood. Pay teachers fairly. Do all kinds of things to make the United States livable again.
Why, we could even make Trump’s one-time wealth tax an annual thing, and have enough money to dismantle all our rickety nuclear power plants and convert to clean energy. All the former billionaires could be given jobs sucking plutonium out of the Pacific with straws.
It would make a nice scene, Trump delivering his inaugural address in 2013, walking off the grandstand and handing Bill Gates a tax lien for 14.25% of everything he owns. “Thanks, Don. This will really expedite reducing extreme poverty and all that other stuff I was supposed to be doing with my foundation.”
As far as I can tell, Donald Trump hasn’t mentioned the wealth tax in his current campaign. Worry not. It just means he learned in 1999 that you can’t get coverage in the corporate media unless you talk about trivial diversions. Instead of the wealth tax, Trump is talking about Obama’s supposedly missing birth certificate, which gets him discussed a lot on the talk shows and on the op-ed page of the New York Times, where he is having a feud with Gail Collins. Trump knows that if he talked about taxing rich people, like the owners of the New York Times, then the New York Times would give him the Dennis Kucinich treatment, which is no mention at all.
In an electoral landscape without a glimmer, a 40-watt billionaire like Donald Trump shines like the morning sun. Charlie Sheen even called him a “real f–cking dude” at Radio City Music Hall last week. One good idea 12 years ago and the approval of Charlie Sheen—now there’s a platform for the 21st century. No other serious candidate comes close.
CHARLES M. YOUNG is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, the new independent, collectively-owned, journalist-run, reader-supported (we hope!) online alternative newspaper.