Written on Friday, July 15, 2011 by Nathaniel Davidson
As explained in a previous column, there is a huge amount of misinformation about “tax cuts for the rich”. In the case of the leading political proponents, so much that it’s hard to believe that it’s not deliberate. In reality, there are no tax cuts proposed (alas), merely a debate on whether to raise them (the rates, not necessarily the revenue, as explained).
But one of the most surprising shills for the Democrats’ greed for the money we earn are some of the richest people in the world. The Leftist media just love this, because they can fawn over these seeming altruists and paint Tea Partiers (but never the government!) as “greedy”. But as always with such agitprop, things are not what they seem, and in reality we should not be surprised at all.
For all the talk about “taxing the rich”, the Democrats’ proposal does nothing of the sort. Rather, it leaves the rich alone, and instead punishes those working hard aspiring to be rich. As Thomas Sowell points out:
Not only are the so-called “tax cuts” not really tax cuts, most of the people called “rich” are not really rich. Rich means having a lot of wealth. But income taxes don’t touch wealth. No wonder some billionaires are saying it’s OK to raise income taxes. They would still be billionaires if taxes took 100 percent of their current income.
What those who are arguing against “tax cuts for the rich” are promoting is raising the tax rates on families making $250,000 a year and up. A husband and wife making $125,000 a year each are not rich. If they have a kid going to one of the many colleges charging $30,000 a year (in after-tax money) for tuition alone, they are not likely to feel anywhere close to being rich.
Many people earning an annual income of $125,000 a year do so only after years of earning a lot less than that before eventually working their way up to that level. For politicians to step in at that point and confiscate what they have invested years of working to achieve is a little much.
Of course, there is nothing to stop these rich men donating to the government, if they really felt that the government needs it. But as usual, leftists are generous only with other people’s money, and the wealthy leftists are no exception. It’s “high taxes for thee but not for me”, as they stash their own lucre in tax shelters, as exposed in Peter Schweitzers’s excellent book Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy. Obama himself, despite his love for high tax rates, has appointed a good number of tax cheats, as Michelle Malkin documents in Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies And John Kerry, who made the late Teddy Kennedy seem like Massachusetts’ conservative senator, moored his luxury yacht in Rhode Island to avoid his state’s rapacious taxes.
One of the most notorious of these rich tax lovers is Warren Buffett, who should really stick to his great investing. A few years ago, a headline in the Leftmedia screamed, “Buffett Blasts System That Lets Him Pay Less Tax Than Secretary”. Obviously he doesn’t pay less tax, but even if it meant a lower tax rate Larry Elder showed that he is simply wrong here. Typically no media story bothered to check the facts.
Buffett is also a great fan of the Marxist Death Tax, because he doesn’t think parents should be allowed to work hard and give their children and grandchildren a better start. Now even if we might think of the spoiled inheritance-welfare liberals like the Kennedys and Rockefellers, we should still reject it because it devastates families. They must pay the huge tax—in cash—within a year of the death of the testator. So the grieving survivors must desperately sell assets including family-owned business and farms.
And this is what explains Buffett’s great love for the tax. It has enabled him to buy family businesses at firesale prices. He also owns life insurance companies which earn about 10% of their revenue from schemes to minimize the death tax legally. So as usual, Leftist politics hurt poorer people while benefiting the extremely wealthy. One article argued:
It’s hard to think of Warren Buffett as a robber baron. He’s a jolly chap who just seems to be along for the ride. But the ugly truth is that his businesses benefit from one of the major big-government redistributive programs by which the ruling class makes government big and families small. He’s a leader of a “redistributive combine” that wants to keep what it got from the government favor factory. He’s one of the chaps sitting by the side of the road taking their cut, courtesy of Uncle Sam.
It’s a spending problem
Our tax rates are rapacious for one simple reason: our greedy government is addicted to spending our money, and can never get enough of it. Far from being “patriotic” to pay tax as VP Biden claimed, and supported by these hypocritical wealthy tax-lovers, we should be legally trying to wean the government of its increasing tax fix.
So it’s a refreshing change to see some typical Aussie bluntness from Australia’s then richest man, the late billionaire Kerry Packer. He shot back at critics of his successful 14-year battle with the Australian Taxation Office:
I am not evading tax in any way, shape or form. Of course I am minimising my tax. And if anybody in this country doesn’t minimise their tax, they want their heads read, because as a government, I can tell you you’re not spending it that well that we should be donating extra!
And a couple of years ago, his fellow wealthy Aussie Dick Smith threatened to “Do a Kerry Packer on tax”, saying:
Why shouldn’t I minimise my tax in every way I can see when I see the waste that is taking place from decisions made by your fellow bureaucrats in Canberra? I can tell you I am considering becoming the greatest legal tax minimiser in the history of Australia….
In contrast, both of these men were very generous to private charities—unlike Obama and Biden who make Ebenezer Scrooge seem generous.
I have pointed out before that behind much leftism is plain and simple violation of the command against coveting. Packer was astute enough to see this too, from a global perspective:
If a working class Englishman saw a bloke drive past in a Rolls-Royce, he’d say to himself, “Come the social revolution and we’ll take that away from you, mate.” Whereas if his American counterpart saw a bloke drive past in a Cadillac he’d say, “One day I’m going to own one of those.” To my way of thinking the first attitude is wrong. The latter is right.
Good thing he wasn’t thinking of our Democrats, billionaire or not!
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