President Obama urged Congress on Saturday to raise taxes on “the rich,” once again stirring the waters of class warfare.
Obama said in his weekly radio address: “We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead — not just a few.”
The problem is the interpretation of “fair share.” Democrats seem genetically incapable of imagining any alternative other than raising taxes and stealing more money from people.
They view new charges on wealth as they would a “sin tax.” Certain things like cigarettes, alcohol and pornography can be taxed and taxed and taxed some more because the people who buy them will be too embarrassed to fight publicly to keep their sin — their addiction — affordable.
Being rich is the new sin under the current regime. Even though most Democratic politicians are themselves multimillionaires or billionaires, they figure they’ve got enough money that they won’t miss it if they have to pay higher taxes. You’ve heard it from Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, movie stars, computer moguls and a long line of wealthy liberals.
The buzz phrase “fair share” is an appeal intended to resonate with the masses. Why not make the “rich” pay more? After all, it’s fair.
Like most of what this administration says, however, it’s a cynical misrepresentation.
First, stealing more money from people’s pockets never benefits anybody except government bureaucrats. When was the last time raising taxes actually resulted in better education or needed services? On the other hand, bureaucracies are very good at things like creating new agencies, building unneeded projects and buying fleets of new vehicles for union employees. The projected amount Obama’s plan would raise, $47 billion through 2022, is nothing compared with $7 trillion in budget deficits expected in the same time frame. But it will buy some nice office furniture, I’m sure.
Second, that same $47 billion could go a long way in the private sector toward creating jobs. Doing the math, that’s the equivalent of more than 78,000 $60,000-a-year jobs for 10 years. We need millions of new jobs for our economy to recover, but leaving that money in the private sector could certainly help more than any government bailout ever has. Even if it weren’t used directly for job creation, that money could be used to create investments, buy goods, pay for services, all things which are provided by someone who needs the work.
Third, a tax on the rich is going to bite the poor in the wallet. Every business tax gets passed on to the customer in the form of higher prices, making scarce dollars worth even less in middle- or lower-class households. Even Obama’s definition of the rich — anyone making $250,000 a year or more — is suspect because a small business owner can make that amount of money, have to pay out most of it in costs and taxes, and still wind up struggling to pay his phone bill like other people.
The apparent willingness of multimillionaire Democrats to pay higher taxes is anything but altruistic. They’re figuring that paying another half million or so is worthwhile if it means they’ll get their hands on, say, a $40 million budget for a pet project or just to spread around among their friends and supporters. Besides, you can rest assured they’ll have a loophole built into any legislation that will let them get around actually paying a new tax.
When Obama talks about the rich paying their fair share, it really just means you’re going to pay for keeping Obama in the White House.
Tad Cronn is the editor in chief of The Patriots Almanac and the author of the e-book Radical Reboot: How to Fix Capitalism (and Save the World).