Cuts, Credits, and Thanks

April 21st, 2010

By Brianna Aubin

In the communist state of North Korea, all good things are supposed to come from the Dear Leader, Kim Il-sung and now Kim Jong-il.  In the book Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (which is amazing), one of the scenes described is that of Mrs. Song, a former North Korean factory worker and housewife (who has since defected to South Korea), giving out candy to her children on Kim Il-sung’s birthday, which is a national holiday in the DPRK:

A few days before each birthday, the Workers’ Party would distribute to every child more than two pounds of sweets.  It was a truly impressive gift for kids, all kinds of cookies, jellies, chocolates, and chewing gums.  These treats weren’t to be eaten until the day of the birthday.  Some mothers ignored that, but Mrs. Song went by the book.  When the time came, the children lined up in front of the portraits (of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung, mandatory in all DPRK homes) to express their gratitude.  In unison, they would bend from the waist, bowing deeply, with feeling.

“Thank you, dear father Kim Il-sung,” the children repeated as their mother looked on in satisfaction.

Of course, that was back in the days when North Korea still had candy, along with oil, electricity and enough food to keep its people from plain, stark, animal starvation.  Since the collapse of the Soviet Union exposed the North Korean regime for the hollow shell it really was, an estimated 2.5 million North Koreans have died of famine, over 10% of their population.  Since it is as yet impossible to interview the dead, we’ll probably never know what was going through the heads of many of the starving as they perished.  However, I somehow doubt it bore any resemblance to the sentiment of “Thank you.”

In a Communist regime, all good things are supposed to come from government.  Food, clothing, shelter, schooling, health care — even little things like treats and candy.  We do not live in a Communist regime.  But tax “credits” work along the same principle; your house (first time home buyer credit), your education (government takeover of student loans and the new education credits), your car (cash for clunkers), your health care (medical expenses tax credit), even your ability to take care of your children (earned income tax credit) are gifts from government, which understands the plight of the working class and is only “trying to help.”  Further, we’re supposed to believe that all of these things are equivalent to tax cuts, which would prevent this income from being taken from us in the first place.  Instead, what tax credits do is take the income from us, then redistribute it according to the way government thinks this income should be spent — or, at least, it redistributes the parts that don’t go to paying the salaries of the redistributors, which seem to grow with each passing day as the regulators pat themselves on the back about how altruistic they are.

The anti-Tea Party protesters don’t understand this difference.  They call the Tea Partiers foolish and uninformed, citing Obama’s claim that 95% of the population has received tax cuts.  But since it’s impossible to actually cut taxes for 95% of the population when only 53% of the population pays taxes in the first place, this means that these supposed “cuts” have actually come in the form of credits, rebates on taxes already paid to the government over the course of the year through the automatic withdrawal system. Just as in North Korea, the fundamental idea behind it all is that all good things should come from government.  We even have our own “Dear Leader” among us, who is so wrapped up in his own cult of personality that he seems to be honestly wondering why nobody around him is saying, “Thank you.”

So thank you, Mr. President, for increasing the debt ceiling by over $2 trillion in your first year of office.  Thank you for sending the deficit soaring for the foreseeable future.  Thank you for increasing the taxes you promised not to raise for 95% of Americans.  Thank you for targeting the wealth and job creators of the economy (that other 5%, who is apparently too rich for your liking) with every speech you make about “cutting” taxes for everybody but them.   Thank you for your health care bill, which will drive away doctors, increase costs, run insurers out of business, place more taxes on the people and the economy, decrease medical innovation, increase regulatory bureaucracy, increase wait times, lower standards of care, and almost certainly end up in a single-payer system.  And thank you for trying to pin the blame for our current problems on me and those like me, the greedy, selfish individuals who are doing their best to produce, rather than the idiotic and failed government policies to which you have contributed far more than your “fair share.”

Never fear, Dear Leader, for you are being thanked by Americans everywhere — and they will be sure to thank you again in November.


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2 Responses to “Cuts, Credits, and Thanks”



  1. Tom |

    The most important difference between a democracy and an authoritarian regime, obviously, is the fact that in democracies people can periodically throw the rascals out. If your views represent a majority of U.S. voters, and according to the polls you’re pretty close, then lots of rascals will lose their jobs in November.

    I take a bit of exception, though, to use of the term “Dear Leader” in reference to President Obama, linking him to the likes of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. It’s perfectly valid to express strong disagreement with the President and his agenda; it’s a leap way too far to compare him, even by implication, to two of the most oppressive communist dictators in history. Nothing that has happened in the U.S. or even could happen justifies that.


  2. Brianna |

    “I take a bit of exception, though, to use of the term “Dear Leader” in reference to President Obama, linking him to the likes of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.”

    It wasn’t the people I was linking so much as the ideas. The Kims have an incredible cult of personality. For a free country, the cult of personality that has risen up around Obama is astonishing.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19v5Kjmc8FI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7gRAi93jcM&feature=related
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTm5rp8r6fE
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxvHkFLmqRk

    There are others I can’t find right now. But these are freaky enough.

    Twice a year, the Kims hand out sweets to the kiddies, for which they expect thanks. Obama has handed out money in the form of tax cuts, for which he explicitly stated that he was wondering why he wasn’t being thanked. The difference of degree is huge. The difference of type is… not nearly as huge as I’d like. And I meant “dear leader” as more of a general sarcastic term; not so much to explicitly link the two together in the way you suggest.


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