In the political world of the U.S. there are almost daily calls for the evil rich to pay more taxes to support the government. Barack Obama is fond of saying the millionaires and billionaires do not pay their “fair share, ” while refusing to precisely define what is their fair share.
What must be concluded is by fair share Obama and the other politicians mean they want substantially more money, maybe an unlimited amount. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the 2000s, the top 5% of wage earners averaged paying 28.4% of their income in taxes and paid 40.3% of all income taxes collected. According to Obama, they still do not pay their fair share.
Obama also rails against corporations and their tax breaks which he calls “subsidies.” He said these tax breaks should be ended, calling them corporate welfare. He also criticizes companies for opening facilities overseas, thus depriving Americans of employment opportunities on American soil. Meanwhile his policies make it more and more expensive to hire American workers, thus encouraging corporations to look overseas.
Obama claims to be the champion of the little people, the poor, the downtrodden, the shrinking middle class. He promises them cash and prizes extracted from the evil rich and corporations. Well and good, but how has he actually preformed?
The centerpiece of his first term in office was the Affordable Healthcare Act. It was supposed to cut healthcare costs for everyone using a Byzantine system that so far has resulted in more than 14,000 pages of new rules and regulations. The truth is neither Obama nor a single member of congress had even read the bill before they passed it. Result: Last year health care premiums went up 14%.
Obama also promised to lower unemployment significantly, and has spent some 4 trillion USD to stimulate the economy. Result: The rate of unemployment has stayed around 8% for the last 4 years, while 8.5 million gave up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force. If these 8.5 million were included, the unemployment rate would be more than 14%.
This led me to thinking about Bill Gates, Chairman of Microsoft. Who has benefited humanity more, the president of the most successful country in the world, or the Chairman of one of the most successful corporations in the world? Obama or Gates?
Both Obama and Gates were born in 1961. That’s where the similarity ends.
Gates dropped out of college and founded Microsoft. He took a chance with his life, and ended up being wildly successful. Obama took the safe path of working for others, most particularly government, the safest of employers. Though he was very successful within the welcoming arms of the government.
Obama is a cog in the machinery of government. Maybe a very important cog, but a cog nonetheless. Gates is a very successful stand alone entrepreneur, and arguably the most important single businessman in the last 100 years.
Microsoft’s products have enabled many to start successful businesses of their own, save money by being able to shop and plan more efficiently, enjoy their free time, communicate, make money by developing and selling software applications, and generally work smarter and more efficiently. Obama’s government impedes these things by adding rules, restrictions, taxes and fees to nearly every aspect of business and life.
Windows based, or Windows compatible products, have been partially responsible for enabling communications that led to the ousting of dictators and despots all over the world. Obama leads from behind the French
Microsoft employs nearly 100,000 people, more than half in the U.S. with the rest spread out all over the world. The work they do creates wealth. Obama’s government employs many more people, but as government employees, they create no wealth. They only consume the wealth created by others.
Microsoft made millionaires of many of its employees, and billionaires of a few as it created capital with the production and sale of its products. Obama and his government have not created a single cent of new capital, but to be fair, they have made a few people wealthy with their crony capitalism schemes.
Obama forcibly takes money from certain citizens to redistribute to others. Gates started a charitable foundation to voluntarily give his wealth away in ways he decides will help the most. Leading by example, Gates has successfully convinced Warren Buffet, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), and maybe others to join him.
Obama gave the world the Chevy Volt and Solyndra. Gates gave the world Windows.
Microsoft stock is trading around $27. per share. If a person had bought the stock when initially offered, it would have cost about .09 per share after figuring in splits and inflation. Thousands (millions?) of people have bettered their lives by investing in Microsoft. If someone had bought government bonds at the same time as the Microsoft IPO, after taxes and inflation, the value of their holdings today would be lower than the initial investment. Not all Obama’s fault, but he did nothing to correct things.
Obama is quick to step in front of TV cameras to take credit for this or that, no matter how tangentially was his actual involvement. The killing of Osama bin Laden is a good example. Gates works largely unheralded and purposely unnoticed as has gives away his fortune. Ronald Reagan once said, “There is no limit to the amount of good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.” Obama does not agree.
So who has done more to improve the lot of humanity? Despite his grandiose claims and endless self puffery, Obama has done little. Gates wins hands down.