Friday, February 22, 2013

Comparison of Obama vs a real socialist

Many people have falsely accused President Obama of being a socialist. 

Let's look at a real socialist country.  Specifically France, which has one of the most oppressive tax rules.

Tax rates. 

France has a high marginal tax rate of 75% (on all income over 1 million Euro)

If you live in a state like Florida with no income tax, you pay 39.6%, plus 6.2% social security for employees (39.6+plus another 6.2% from the employer - yourself if self employed) + 1.45 Medicare tax, for a total of 47.25% or 53.45% if you are self-employed

Golfer Phil Mickelson (who counts as self employed) wants to leave California, because his tax rate has risen to as high as 63%

Obama doesn't want more than a rise of 4% or so for taxes.   On a scale of 0-10 communism, with socialism as 5, that puts Obama at a 3.  


Businesses in France prefer to hire people using temporary contracts because if you have more than 49 permanent workers, a ton of nasty rules come into play.  For example, you pretty much can't fire a permanent worker.   (Source) Firing is pretty easy in America, unless discrimination or sexual harassment get involved.  I have NEVER heard of a US firm not hiring people because they are afraid you can't fire someone.  It's about firing specific people, not anyone.

Obama gets a 1/10. Pretty Capitalist.


The French get a minimum (by law) of 5 weeks vacation a year.   (Source)  Some get as much as 8.  Four weeks is pretty standard in the developed world   In the US, two is standard, 4 is good.
Only Japan and South Korea give less than the US. (source)

Obama gets a 1/10  Pretty Capitalist.

Work Week

In France, they have a 35 hour work week.  In the US, it is 40.  We are not that far off, but we still work more.

Obama gets a 3/10. 

Health care

French Health care is universal and basically single payer, although supplemental coverage is available.   Obama care is far from it - there are lots of gaps for people to fall through, we have multiple different insurance companies.  Again, we did the minimum, not the maximum.

Obama gets a 1/10 here. 

Social Security

French Social Security starts at 62 (60 pre-2010 law), with maximum benefits at 67  The US starts at 67 (it used to be 65), with maximum benefits at 70.  The French base their system on the best 25 years,  the US on the best 35 years (which significantly lowers the value, assuming you get real raises).  The base formula (assuming full 25 or 35 years), is average salary x 50% for France (source), with a cap of  3031 euros (or $3936 given exchange rate of 0.77)  about  The base formula for the US is 90% for the first $749 you make a month, then 35% for till you hit 3768 a month, then 15% for any money above that (Source) with a cap of $2,513.

The french retirement system is far more generous, by about 50%.

Obama gets a 2/10 here.

OK, let's take a look at the scores again:

Taxes:   3
Unions   1
Vacation:  1
Work Week:  3
HealthCare 1
Social Security 2

I know, people are going to say I am comparing America to France, not Obama to France.  Obama has not made any attempt to change Unions, Vacations, Work Week, or Social Security.   As for Taxes and Healthcare, I  compared Obama's plan to France, not our current plan. 

Obama is not and never has been a socialist.  He is a liberal.  If you can't tell the difference, then you have no business being in politics.  That's like not being able to tell the difference between a Conservative and a Fascist. 

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