Some political pundits have expressed puzzlement at President Obama's continuing attacks on "rich people" for not paying their "fair share" of income taxes. It is well-known that the wealthy already are paying a far larger portion of income taxes than any other group and that if all their income were confiscated, it would pay for just a few extra days of government expenditures. Some Democrats even have admitted as much. From a fiscal standpoint, these pundits note, Mr. Obama's attacks don't make any sense. They are correct.
What they don't recognize is that Mr. Obama is not really interested in the money. Rather, he has chosen to employ an old trick used by demagogues for centuries to gain the support of the common people -- to create animosity toward a small, weak but identifiable group in the country and then lead an attack on that group. This, for example, is what Hitler did with the Jews in Germany, what Stalin did with the Kulaks ("rich" peasants) in Russia, and what Mao Zedong did with the "exploiting class" (landlords) in China.
In most cases, this ploy works like a charm. It distracts the majority of the people from the many other evil things being done by the group in power, and it makes the people believe they are improving the country by helping to kill or suppress the identified group.
The fact that Mr. Obama has embraced the goals of the Occupy Wall Street thugs who have focused their wrath on the "1 percent" reinforces my conviction that the president has adopted this tried-and-true ploy straight out of the demagogue's playbook.
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