- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 16, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Critics dismiss Barack Obama’s plans to bring the “two Americas” together. But, his plans may just work.

Taxes: Barack Obama’s America blasts the Bush tax cuts for “unfairly” benefiting the rich. They intend to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, with resulting higher taxes on income, capital gains and dividends.

The other America believes in limited government, low taxes, fewer regulations. It believes individuals, rather than government, know how to best spend, save or invest their own money. This part of America feels the Kennedy, Reagan and George W. Bush tax cuts benefited the economy by placing more capital in the hands of private actors, resulting in more jobs, greater productivity and higher net worth.

Barack Obama’s solution: Shared sacrifice. If your last name begins with A through E, Mr. Obama will continue the Bush tax cuts. If your last name begins with F through L, he will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. If your last name begins with M through Z, Obama will raise your taxes. Now the following fiscal year, those with last names beginning A through E face a tax increase. The F through Ls get the Bush tax cuts. And the L through Zs will have their tax cuts expire. The next fiscal year, Mr. Obama will rearrange the cuts, depending, of course, on your last name, and will continue this rotation every year of his administration.

The Iraq war: Mr. Obama’s America considers the war a failure, a war that “never should have been authorized, and never should have been waged.” This Obama America feels the Iraq war makes Americans less safe, causes us to take our eye off the ball in Afghanistan, infuriates our allies and uses funds better spent elsewhere.

The other America feels that, however we got into Iraq, leaving precipitously emboldens our enemies, creates a safe haven for terrorism, and gives Iran — an avowed enemy of America and a country pursuing nuclear weapons — a dangerous and destabilizing influence over oil-rich Iraq. This part of America believes we cannot in good conscience leave without ensuring Iraq’s stability because that would endanger our own. This part of America agrees with former Secretary of State James Baker, “If we picked up and left right now, you would see the biggest civil war you’ve ever seen. Every neighboring country would be involved in there, doing its own thing: Turkey, Iran, Syria, you name it, and even our friends in the Gulf.”

Mr. Obama’s solution: Withdraw all troops by the year 2009. Then send them back in 2010, followed by their return to America in 2011, with another redeployment to Iraq in 2012. These on/off, every-other-year rotations would continue throughout his presidency. This satisfies those who want the troops home immediately. But it also appeases those who consider our national security dependent upon a military presence in Iraq. This policy also confuses our enemy, since they never know whether we are coming or going.

Health care: Mr. Obama’s America considers health care a right, not a privilege. That America wants a government-run universal health-care system and considers it a national disgrace that 47 million people (many here illegally) live in a country without health insurance.

The other America agrees with Claude Castonguay, the father of the Quebec universal health-care system, later adopted by the whole of Canada. Mr. Castonguay recently pronounced his country’s system a failure and now urges American-style competition and pushes for a greater role by the private sector.

Mr. Obama’s solution: Provide universal health insurance to those without it. Allow those happy with their current health-care policies to retain them. Who pays for the uninsured 47 million? Tax Canada.

Global warming: Barack Obama’s America considers global warming a dire threat to our planet. As with Al Gore of the Oscar-winning film “An Inconvenient Truth,” this America considers drastic action necessary to avoid catastrophe.

The other America agrees with General Motors’ Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, who recently called global warming a “total crock of [expletive].” The non-Obama America supports an analysis in the documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle,” which aired in Britain on private channel 4.

This America questions the extent to which man-made activity causes increased temperatures. It questions whether the Kyoto Protocol — mandating large expenses on industry to control greenhouse gases — actually harms more than helps. Other climatologists/skeptics argue that many factors account for the slight rise in world temperature over the last 100 years, including, but not limited to, solar activity.

Mr. Obama’s solution: Force Mr. Lutz to square off on pay-per-view against Al Gore in an Ultimate Fighting Championship no-holds-barred death match. The winner gets to decide America’s policy on climate change.

Hopefully this comforts the naysayers who doubt whether Barack Obama can, indeed, bring us together.

Larry Elder is a nationally syndicated columnist, a radio talk show host and a best-selling author.

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