Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Obama Math: Success=Failure

Roger Kimball looks at how Obama's constant citation to "fairness" should really be read, "if you are more successful than others, you should pay your 'fair share' as defined by government."

Look, I don't thing the super rich should be free from paying taxes. That their marginal tax rate is higher than mine is fine and if I should ever reach such rarified heights, I will grudgingly pay that tax. But what Obama wants to do is really penalize people (and companies) for being successful, all in the name of fairness.
The crucial point here is that what Obama is interested in is not increasing but in promulgating redistributionist policies that make it harder for people to prosper economically. McGurn recalls Obama’s response to ABC’s Charlie Gibson when Gibson observed that rasing taxes led to decreased revenues: “Well, Charlie,” Obama replied, “what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

“For purposes of fairness”: that means, “for purposes of economic egalitarianism.” McGurn comments:
[I]t doesn’t really matter whether a tax increase actually brings in more revenue. It’s not about robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it’s done in the name of fairness.

Now there are good reasons Mr. Obama is not likely to pursue the revenue side of the fairness question. As this newspaper noted in a recent editorial, the latest data from the Internal Revenue Service does not show to Mr. Obama’s advantage. As we come to the end of the Bush administration, the top 1% of American taxpayers already pay 40% of all income taxes — the highest level in 40 years. The top 10% of income earners pay 71% of the taxes.
The bottom line is that when Obama invokes “fairness,” he wants us to feel guilty about economic success. This is the secret of his appeal to to socialistically inclined. It is also the reason why the rest of us are so uneasy about the prospect of an Obama administration.

It has long been recognized that liberalism and feelings of guilt go together as predictably as tea and crumpets.(link added)
So Obama, in order to be fair, wants to take from those who have worked hard to get what they have and do what with it, exactly?

Obama has said that a family making $250,000 is certainly well off. Fair enough, I can accept that definition. However such a family is Obama's target for a tax hike. Now, leaving aside that this family is already going to be paying the top marginal rate in our tax code, these people should be paying more because they are successful. It is only fair.

Kimball argues that it is Obama's definition of fairness that is what makes people uneasy about an Obama presidency. I have to agree that it is part of my uneasiness, but not all of it.

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