We’ve never met Al Gore. So how do we know he is racist? Because the Washington Post’s Harold Meyerson told us so. Remember Al Gore wants to save Social Security and Medicare by putting all payroll taxes in a “iron-clad lockbox where the politicians can’t touch them.” How is this racist? Meyerson opines today:
Welfare was pretty much abolished in the mid-1990s, of course, but an increasingly desperate John McCain is transporting us back to the wedge issues of yesteryear.
To do so, he is accusing Barack Obama of bringing back the discarded policies of welfare by calling for a tax cut that will apply to all taxpayers, including workers who pay payroll but not income taxes because their earnings are too low. A tax break for the working poor — janitors, waitresses, employees of Wal-Mart and McDonald’s — becomes, in McCain’s telling, a subsidy from all the Joe the Plumbers to undeserving people who live off the dole
Back in Reagan’s day, the whole point of attacking welfare recipients, of course, was to rally susceptible white voters to the Republican column by stoking their animus at African Americans whom they (wrongly) believed comprised the majority of welfare recipients. It enabled Reagan and his right-wing crew to play the race card without actually having to make racially specific characterizations.
Got that? If you have the audacity to point out that the only way Obama can claim to be giving 95% of the American people a tax cut is by either giving tax refunds to people who do not pay income taxes or by raiding the payroll taxes they do pay that support Medicare and Social Security, then you are a racist. The Wall Street Journal‘s William McGurn explains:
In most parts of America, getting money back on taxes you haven’t paid sounds a lot like welfare. Ah, say the Obama people, you forget: Even those who pay no income taxes pay payroll taxes for Social Security. Under the Obama plan, they say, these Americans would get an income tax credit up to $500 based on what they are paying into Social Security.
Just two little questions: If people are going to get a tax refund based on what they pay into Social Security, then we’re not really talking about income tax relief, are we? And if what we’re really talking about is payroll tax relief, doesn’t that mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for a Social Security trust fund that is already badly underfinanced? … [Had] Obama proposed to pay for payroll tax relief out of, well, payroll taxes, his plan would never have a chance in Congress. Most members would look at a plan that defunded a trust fund that seniors are counting on for their retirement as political suicide.
And that leads us to the heart of this problem. If the government is going to give tax cuts to 44% of American based on their Social Security taxes — without actually refunding to them the money they are paying into Social Security — Mr. Obama will have to get the funds elsewhere. And this is where “general revenues” turns out to be a more agreeable way of saying “Other People’s Money.”
Of course, Al Gore is not, in fact, racist (as far as we know). But it is also profoundly dishonest of Meyerson to slap the racist label on anyone who dares to point out the logical contradictions of Obama’s tax policies.