by Don Feder, GrassTopsUSA.com
They say you get less of what you tax and more of what you subsidize. The left feels there are still too many producers in this country. But it has a solution – tax them into extinction.
Increasingly, the Democrats and their stooges sound like villains from an Ayn Rand novel – Wesley Mooch or Lee Hunsacker.
Posturing at a Democratic rally in Sarasota, Florida, last week, horror-writer Stephen King announced, “As a rich person (not to mention a monument to the public’s abysmal taste in “literature”) I pay (a) 28 percent tax. What I want to ask you is why am I not paying 50? Why isn’t anyone in my bracket paying 50 (percent)?”
Perhaps that’s because Cujo-boy isn’t paying a 28 percent federal tax.
King has an estimated net worth of $300 million. As the author of 49 novels, which have sold over 350 million copies, royalties alone would put him in the top tax bracket of 35 percent, which starts at $373,650. But since his taxes are probably handled by a phalanx of accountants and lawyers, perhaps he can be forgiven for thinking that he and the rest of the “super-rich” pay a top-rate of 28 percent.
King, who has a B.A. in English from the University of Maine, sounds like an MBA-graduate of the Wharton School of Finance next to college-dropout and Castro-symp Michael Moore.
“This is class war,” Moore raved on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show last Wednesday, reacting to what appears to be the end of the line for the Wisconsin public-employee gravy train – which the socialist fat-cat naturally blames on “the rich.”
With a tenuous hold on reality at the best of times, Moore has become totally unhinged: “I’d like anybody who works on Wall Street, anybody who works for the banks, just take a look at (the lawlessness in Madison). This is what’s coming for you. Because the people are going to demand justice, they’re going to demand that your ass is in jail.”
The clincher came when the bloated Bolshevik announced to the malefactors of wealth, “We have a right to your money!” Although he didn’t come right out and say it, Moore probably believes he also has a right to the homes, wives, and children of the rich.
“Tax the rich,” is the Left’s favorite refrain – repeated with the mind-numbing regularity of Ahmadinejad saying “It’s all the Jews’ fault.”
- “The rich are not paying their fair share in any nation that is facing the kind of employment issues (America currently does)” – Hillary Clinton;
- “It’s time to restore fairness to a tax code that has been driven badly out of whack” – former Vice Presidential candidate and celebrity slut John Edwards; and
- “We don’t have an entitlement problem. We have a revenue problem.” (Guess who we’re not looting enough?) – AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.
Last, but surely not least, when he was trying to raise taxes on those he called “the wealthiest two percent of Americans” last fall, the Alinskyite in-chief claimed, “And these are folks who are less likely to spend the money (that I don’t take from them), which is why economists don’t think tax breaks for the wealthy would do much to boost the economy.” Are they going to throw it under their mattresses?
No, instead of spending the wealth of which they are not despoiled, the richest two percent are more likely to save and invest it, leading to business expansion, job creation, and economic growth.
In the long run, their investments may even create more jobs than the $390,000 in stimulus spending used to study the effects of malt liquor and marijuana consumption at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Hint: It leads to falling down, vomiting, and voting for Democrats.
Although it hasn’t actually translated into votes for them yet (witness the Democrats’ debacle last November), this is one of the few leftist clichés the public actually swallows.
In a recent 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair survey, 61 percent of respondents favored raising taxes on the rich as a first step toward balancing the budget, versus the 7 percent who think cuts in entitlement spending is the place to start. H.L. Mencken once observed democracy is the theory that “the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Do any of these nitwits know what percentage of the tax-burden the rich currently bear?
The National Taxpayers Union tells us that in tax year 2008, the top one percent of taxpayers made a forced donation of 38.02 percent of all federal personal income taxes. The top 5 percent (Adjusted Gross Income – $159,619) covered 58.72 percent.
Out of 142 million returns filed in that year, nearly 52 million (36 percent of filers) paid nothing – not one red cent.
In 2010, a family of four could earn up to $51,000 and still pay no personal income tax. (Social Security is another matter.) Assuming it’s even possible to speak of taxes and fairness in the same breath, who then isn’t paying their fair share? The same 36 percent who pay nothing in federal personal income taxes are also major tax-consumers, in the form of various entitlements.
From King to Moore and beyond, no one on the Left believes federal spending is the problem – especially with a compassionate community organizer writing the rubber checks.
For two-plus years, Barack Obama has been spending like a SUNY Buffalo student after consuming copious quantities of marijuana and malt liquor.
Under Clinton (who was restrained by a Republican majority in the House for his last six years in office), federal spending was around 18 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, close to the post-war norm. Under George W. Bush, who himself was no slouch when it came to spending other people’s money, federal spending inched up to 20 percent of GDP. Under president spread-the-wealth-around, it’s close to 25 percent – the highest proportion in the past 65 years.
This spending binge has given us unemployment hovering around 10 percent (17 percent if you include the underemployed and those who have given up looking for a job), almost three million mortgage foreclosures last year, and a growth rate so anemic that if it went to the beach, a bully would kick sand in its face like the proverbial “97-pound weakling” of Charles Atlas ads.
The national debt – a tax on all of us from CEOs to janitors – has moved beyond Earth’s orbit and is heading for deep space.
When Obama first infested the White House, the national debt was $10.62 trillion. During eight years in office, George Bush added $4.9 trillion. In a little more than two years, Obama piled on another $3.5 trillion. In other words, it took Obama 25 months to increase the federal debt by 70 percent of what his predecessor racked up in 96 months.
In his first 19 months in office, Obama’s deficit spending exceeded the entire federal debt from George Washington to eight months after Ronald Reagan left office – $2.52 trillion versus $2.19 trillion.
This year, Obama’s deficit will reach an ominous $1.65 trillion. BO is the first president to have an annual deficit exceeding $1 trillion – and he’s done that every year in office. Viewed another way, he’s spending money Washington doesn’t have at the rate of $5 billion a day.
Under the most optimistic projections, over the next decade, Obama’s fiscal road map will add another $13 trillion to the national debt – at which point our economy will resemble the tsunami-ravaged parts of Japan.
But that’s not a problem, according to the horror-writers and dumb documentary-producers of the Left. If only the rich would pay their fair share of taxes, Washington would share a zip code with Easy Street.
In a July 7, 2010, column in (of all places) The Washington Post, Ruth Marcus notes that in order to bring the annual deficit down from five percent of GDP to three percent, while not increasing the tax burden on families earning less than $250,000 a year, the top two tax rates would have to be raised to 72.4 percent and 76.8 percent respectively – more than double the current rates. Says Marcus, “You don’t have to be an anti-tax zealot…to think that would be insane.”
But federal spending isn’t a problem. A national debt that left the launch pad decades ago isn’t a problem. Letting the average Wisconsin public-school teacher rake in over $100,000 annually in salary and benefits, courtesy of taxpayers, isn’t a problem.
Paying the typical member of Congress $169,300 a year isn’t a problem. (Forget staff allowances, retirement, and other fringe benefits).
Non-problems in Obama’s stimulus spending include:
|• $3.4 million for an “eco-passage” in Lake Jackson, Florida, which allows turtles to get from one side of the road to the other. Why did the liberal cross the road? Because he thought there was something he could tax on the other side;• $5 million to create a geothermal energy system for a shopping mall in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, most of whose stores are vacant;
• $800,000 to pave the back runway at Johnstown, Pennsylvania’s John Murtha Airport – a facility that serves approximately 20 passengers a day. This used to include the late Congressman of the same name, who used it as his personal airport;
• $572 million to the Coast Guard to create 1,235 new jobs – at $460,000 per job;
• $100,000 to stimulate a Brazilian Steakhouse and Martini Bar in St. Joseph, Missouri. (How do you say “Here’s looking at you, kid,” in Portuguese?);
• $219,000 to study the sex lives of female college freshmen at Syracuse (New York) University. Nice to know they aren’t the only ones who are getting – you know….; and
• $54 million to stimulate the Napa Valley Wine Train, frequented by those who could probably pay full fare.
The fact that half the country is on the take (AKA, net tax-consumers), and the other half is flogged with increasing severity to subsidize them, that’s not a problem, either.
None of this would be a problem, if only the rich, super-rich, and super-duper rich shouldered their fair share of the tax burden, liberals tell us.
The fact that we will soon arrive at the point where the most productive among us flee to tax shelters or apply for Costa Rican citizenship aside, there’s the simple matter of equity, to which the Left absurdly appeals with its invocations of fairness.
Here’s a news-flash for the Stephen Kings, Michael Moores, and every Democratic officeholder from president down to selectman – the rich have as much right to their property as the rest of us have to ours.
What’s fair about taking half of a person’s earnings? If they can despoil the rich in such brazen fashion, why not the middle class? We are, in other ways.
I always thought the Constitution guaranteed equality before the law, including the tax code. How can that be reconciled with lifting a man’s wallet and extracting half of what’s in it, while a third of all wage earners contribute absolutely nothing?
A much older document, but one on which the Constitution ultimately rests, decrees: “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment. Thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty (but) in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15, King James Bible).
Less than 60 years after the Constitution was ratified, French economist Frederic Bastiat predicted, “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that justifies it.”
Judge Gideon J. Tucker, a contemporary of Bastiat, wrote, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session”
…Or when preening pseudo-populists like King, Moore, or Obama are grandstanding for the economically unwashed.
Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.