Two articles appeared this week explaining “there aren’t enough millionaires” to “fund our deficits.” One by Kevin Williamson of National Review Online that was posted on Monday and the other by Steve McCann who says “higher taxes can’t solve the deficit” and posted at American Thinker yesterday.
Kevin Williamson writes that “America’s problem is that the rich don’t have enough money.” (emphasis in the original). He then goes on to explain:
“When it comes to the Scrooge McDuck set, the problem isn’t that they’re not rich enough, it’s that there aren’t enough rich — not enough to do what liberals want to do, anyway, which is to balance the budget by increasing taxes on them. Let’s deploy some always-suspect English-major math:
“There are lots of liberal definitions of “rich.” When Pres. Barack Obama talks about the rich, he’s talking about people living in households with income of more than $250,000 or more, the rarefied caviar-shoveling stratum occupied by the likes of second-tier public-broadcasting executives, Boston cops, nurses, and the city manager of Lubbock, Texas (assuming somebody in her household earns the last $25,000 to carry her over the line). Club 250K isn’t all that exclusive, and most of its members aren’t the yachts-and-expensive-mistresses types. (emphases in the original)
“Nonetheless, there aren’t that many of them. In fact, in 2006, the Census Bureau found only 2.2 million households earning more than $250,000. And most of those are closer to the Lubbock city manager than to Carlos Slim, income-wise. To jump from the 50th to the 51st percentile isn’t that tough; jumping from the 96th to the 97th takes a lot of schmundo. It’s lonely at the top.”
McCann introduces the problem this way:
“In the ongoing battle between the fiscal conservatives and the liberal Democrats, there appears little chance of any meaningful movement toward fiscal sanity without the so-called ultimate weapon of a shutdown being employed. The conservative element of the Republicans in the House and Senate claim that only massive spending cuts can save the country from going off a financial cliff into bankruptcy. The Democrats counter that spending really isn't the problem -- the country can afford the spending and more; it is that the rich are not paying enough in taxes.
“That same argument is used in various state capitals as well where the states are facing their own financial armageddon in battles with the public sector unions.
“The public, which has its own issues of joblessness and a rising cost of living, is caught in the middle. It sounds very easy and somewhat fun to stick it to the rich rather than cut a program someone somewhere (which the media will find) cannot live without. However they also instinctively know that it is the rich that create jobs and wealth.
“Perhaps the answer lies in understanding the dimension of the current financial dilemma and whether taxing the rich really does solve the problem.”
At the Heritage Foundation, Curtis Dubay has at least two items related to the topic of taxing the rich to pay for Big Government. The first is a “Backgrounder” in which he writes about the “Seven Myths About Taxing the Rich.” (No. 2306, August 3, 2009). Then last October, at the Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, he wrote that “you can’t tax the rich enough to close the deficit.” For example, he wrote:
“Closing the more than $1 trillion deficit Obama’s spending would produce in 2020 by taxing only the rich would require a top income tax rate of 134 percent. Of course it is impossible to tax more than 100 percent of any taxpayer’s income. More importantly, any rate even approaching such a dangerous level would destroy the economy. Period. So even if it were mathematically possible to tax more income than the rich earn, there would be none of it left for the government to confiscate.”
Finally, at the Cato Institute’s blog, Cato@Liberty, Chris Moody explained, “Why Taxing the Rich Is Not Enough to Fund Big Government.” He included a video of Cato fellow Dan Mitchell’s July 14, 2009 appearance on Fox New. Moody introduces the video this way:
“Appearing on Fox News on Monday, Cato's Daniel J. Mitchell explained why taxing the rich to pay for big government programs may make for a good sound bite on the campaign trail, but when there aren't enough wealthy people to tax, the middle class ends up footing the bill.
"When politicians are aiming at the rich, it's the middle class that winds up getting hit in the crossfire," Mitchell said. "They use 'tax the rich' as the rhetoric, but they always go after the ordinary people to get more money to fund their big government schemes." (emphasis added)
So rhetoric such as "Tax the Rich" is nothing but "feel good" politics designed to wage class warfare. Take a few minutes to watch the video. It's less than four minutes.