Obama is a Democratic Socialist!

Sssssshhhhhh – keep it down, will ya? That’s exactly what Rush Limbaugh together with just about the rest of the Republican Party have been loudly declaiming these past few weeks, and we all know that is hogwash. Who is this guy who is piling on this organized campaign of slander against the President?”

Actually, it’s Josef Joffe, one of the publishers of the prestigious German weekly commentary newspaper Die Zeit, who in a new article (title: “The Monster Budget”) calls Obama a “social democrat,” i.e. in the European style. OK, he actually doesn’t call Obama a “social democrat” directly, but instead writes about the “social-democratization” of America that he detects Obama is aiming for on the evidence of the Federal government budget that he just submitted to the Congress. His lede reads “Barack Obama’s proposed budget drives expenditures, debts, and taxes to new heights.” It all sounds like we still might prefer to keep Rush Limbaugh in the dark about this, don’t you think? (Do you remember if Rush understands any German?)

For the reasons behind Joffe’s wielding of this “social democrat” label, you see, are really pretty much the same as Limbaugh’s reasons for calling President Obama a “socialist.” (If it helps any, he – Joffe – still ranks Obama’s current attempted “social-democratization” of America as lesser in degree than what was actually achieved by Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1933 to 1945.) He pinpoints two “social democratic” elements in particular: 1) The rise of the cost of the US federal government to 28% of national GNP that he says Obama’s budget will entail – that’s a “European level,” Joffe says, and compares to just 21% in 2007 – and 2) The increase in taxes that Obama has proposed to pay for all of this. He claims Obama aims to gather $1 trillion in new tax revenues over ten years – “the highest increase in taxes in history” – and will thereby put paid to any idea of the US as a land of low taxation rates; he even suggests that the president proposes to hike the top marginal income-tax rate to 40%. (Is this true? I had not heard anything of the sort.)

What is more, Obama’s budget plan does envision the federal government budget deficit rising to around 12.5% of GNP, a rather striking figure when you consider (as Joffe does in the article) that the EU penalizes its eurozone member-states if their budget deficits go above 3%. (Well, the EU is supposed to, but that will probably will fall by the wayside soon as well.) Even more scandalous are the economic-growth assumptions that Joffe uncovers within the Obama plan that are employed to reassure everyone that that budget deficit will soon disappear because of increased tax revenues. These include 3.2% growth in 2010, followed by an average of 4% each year afterwards through 2013 – this when growth in US GDP for the last quarter of 2008 was actually (at an annual rate) negative 6.2%!

In sum, you’ve got actually got a prominent figure over here in the notoriously left-wing European political establishment now raving on about the level of taxing-and-spending Barack Obama is proposing for the United States. That’s probably roughly equivalent to one’s being vigorously taken to task for outrageously depraved and licentious behavior – by the Marquis de Sade! Maybe it’s time to take another look at the president’s proposals.

UPDATE: Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic has further evidence for Obama’s “socialism” here – somewhat lamer, I must say, and coming from “witnesses” based within the US (what does anyone there know about socialism, no matter how strange the accent they assume?), but at least it’s packaged in video-form.

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