To those who hold that government should be all things to all people at all times, the prospect of cutting back the ever-escalating level of government spending is a non-starter. Like their chief spokesman in the White House, they propose a different solution: Make “the rich” pay more.
Never mind that while President Obama talks about socking “millionaires and billionaires” who “can afford it” with higher taxes, the hikes are actually designed to wallop folks making $200,000 a year. That’s actually a tad less than a million. In many areas, such a salary hardly qualifies one as rich.
We’re supposed to ignore the fact that federal income taxes remain progressive. The richer you are, the more you pay. That’s why the top five percent of earners pay 59 percent of federal income taxes, while roughly the bottom half pay nothing at all.
“Fair” becomes slippery.
Also slippery? The real-world outcomes. Say tax rates were raised enough that deficits might be covered. What would happen?
Just recently I had dinner with a couple of millionaires. “You know, we don’t have to work,” they told me. “We already have enough money to live out the rest of our lives, so if we’re going to be punished tax-wise, we’ll simply retire.” Comfortably, in fact.
But what about those they employ? What about the enterprises and jobs they won’t create?
Maybe punishing productive folks with even higher taxes isn’t such a great idea.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.