Obama: McCain/Palin making “virtue out of selfishness”

Responding to criticism from Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain callaing his plan “socialist” in nature, Sen. Obama today defended his plan to raise taxes on those making above $200,000 a year by intimating that McCain and Palin are trying to make “selfishness” a virtue.

Report from ABC’s Political Punch:

On the stump this week, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., has pushed back against Sen. John McCain’s description of his tax policies.

“The reason that we want to do this, change our tax code, is not because I have anything against the rich,” Obama said in Sarasota, Florida, yesterday. “I love rich people! I want all of you to be rich. Go for it. That’s the America dream, that’s the American way, that’s terrific.

“The point is, though, that — and it’s not just charity, it’s not just that I want to help the middle class and working people who are trying to get in the middle class — it’s that when we actually make sure that everybody’s got a shot – when young people can all go to college, when everybody’s got decent health care, when everybody’s got a little more money at the end of the month – then guess what? Everybody starts spending that money, they decide maybe I can afford a new car, maybe I can afford a computer for my child. They can buy the products and services that businesses are selling and everybody is better off. All boats rise. That’s what happened in the 1990s, that’s what we need to restore. And that’s what I’m gonna do as president of the United States of America.

“John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic,” Obama continued. “You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness.”

It’s unclear if this was a nod to the Ayn Rand book “The Virtue of Selfishness,” with all that the invocation of Rand implies.

It would seem to be, given the themes of Rand’s work, what happens when independent achievers are demonized.

Which would fit with this description of those who want to keep their hard-earned tax dollars as “selfish.”

Atlas may not be shrugging, but Obama is.

The video I could find:

Though that is just 20 seconds or so, there is a bit of context, I’m looking for a longer video.

I’ve heard the “selfish” term bandied about, even in this forum so perhaps Obama will strike a chord with some voters, in this regard, who may be looking for ways to criticize those opposed to Obama’s plan. On the other hand, not many people do support tax increases, though do they consider themselves “selfish” for opposing them?

Sound off below..


Obama’s original tax plan started out with taxes being raised on those making $250,000 per year and above, though discrepancies have arisen from his campaign.

In Obama’s 30-minute TV ad, that number changed to $200,000:

According to MSNBC’s First Read, Sen. Biden said the number would be people making under $150,000 getting a tax cut:

The McCain campaign is jumping all over Biden’s interview yesterday with a Scranton TV affiliate, in which Biden said that people making under $150,000 per year would get a tax cut under Obama’s tax plan.

Biden aides say his comments were actually consistent with Obama’s tax plan — people under $150,000 get a cut, and people making up to $250,000 stay the same.

The campaign says $250,000 stays the same, but Obama said the number is $200,000 during his 30-minute network ad.

Now Gov. Bill Richardson said today that the target number is those making $120,000 per year:

I’m awaiting clarification from the Obama campaign though I wonder why Sen. Obama himself changed it from $250,000 per year to $200,000 per year. It should be noted that Gov. Bill Richardson does NOT speak for the Obama campaign, though his statement adds to the confusion.

Sound off on this, why the varying numbers? Am I making too much of this? I’ve just noticed it over the past several weeks concerning the changes in the number.


The discrepancy between $250,000 and $200,000 can be explained.

Obama has said those making below $200,000 will see a tax cut. Those making between $200,000 and $249,999 will see no change. Those making above $250,000 will see a tax increase.

Still, how do we square the $150,000 number from Biden and the $120,000 number from Richardson?