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President Obama reached a compromise with the Republican leaders of Congress over extending the Bush tax cuts. Grudgingly, he agreed to include the “evil rich.” Although Obama failed to use that exact term when he made the announcement, it was clear from his tone and his rhetoric that, over the next two years, he intends to play the politics of “envy and greed” to the max.
“I am not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington,” Mr. Obama said. When progressives, i.e., liberal Marxists who believe that it is their sacred duty to redistribute wealth in order to achieve fairness or “economic justice,” use the term “working families,” it is clear they are excluding any family with a combined income of more than $250,000 per year. They would have us believe that these people are undeserving, idle parasites, soaking up the wealth of the country at the expense of the rest of society.
Isn’t it interesting how so many Democrats fall into the “rich” category, but they aren’t above using the politics of envy and greed to attain and hold on to their power?
While there was a period of time, when most people with high incomes came from privileged backgrounds and could be refereed to as the “idle rich,” that is just not the case today. Recent studies in Canada and the U.S. by Armine Yalnizyan and Emmanuel Saez, respectively, show that the majority of the income of today’s top earners comes from salaries, not investments. Yes, most of today’s “rich” are working people. They are highly paid employees or entrepreneurs who have not accumulated Rockefeller-size fortunes.
It might surprise Obama to learn that for the last 20 years or so, most of those with incomes of more than $250,000 a year work very hard for the money they make. In fact, most of these folks have worked hard for a very long time, perfecting a skill or acquiring knowledge, often at great personal sacrifice. Then, they put those skills or that knowledge to good use. They pull down those big salaries by working long hours, constantly meeting deadlines or facing other demands on their time that most people would reject outright. Many take risks that others consider unacceptably high.
It is true that the U.S. has about a third of the world’s millionaires, but the U.S. also leads the world in philanthropy. A survey from Barclays Wealth shows us that, as a rule, these millionaires are not a stingy, money-grubbing lot. In fact, a full 41 percent of these people listed philanthropy as one of their top three spending priorities.
Furthermore, a tax increase on the so-called “wealthy” would affect at least half of the income generated by small businesses, filing as individuals. Those who run small businesses are not heartless. In fact, most will tell you that one of the hardest things they must do is lay off employees when the government confiscates more of their money. That is why they are reluctant to expand or hire when there is economic uncertainty. That is why this two-year compromise on tax hikes will not generate the kind of economic activity that we so desperately need.
Some tax cuts are more helpful to the overall economy than others, with the tax cuts that affect corporations and businesses by far the most important. Republicans should get credit for trying to make that case, even though it is a hard case to make to those who have never studied economics.
The accumulation of wealth is not a zero sum game. The theory that “I am poor because you are rich” may make good political theater but it is simply not true. JFK was right when he said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.”
The United States has one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It doesn’t take an economic genius to understand why so many American jobs have vanished.
Also, taxing corporations and businesses is counterproductive. Corporations and businesses do not pay taxes. They pass them on to consumers. When a product or a service becomes unaffordable, that business goes offshore or out of business.
Most working-age Americans would much rather have a job than another government handout. We need the rich to spend, donate, invest and, more important, hire.
With unemployment hovering around 10 percent, the politics of envy and greed just may not play this time around. Let the stinking, dirty, rotten, evil rich keep more of more of their money! It benefits all of us.