Kevin Drum complains that we conservatives view lefties like himself unfairly.
Reading Tim Pawlenty’s paean to double plus supply-side-ism yesterday made me wonder, once again, why conservatives think we liberals are opposed to it. I mean, if it actually worked, why would we be? It’s politically popular, and by their accounts it would generate trillions of dollars in extra revenue that we could use to finance our beloved lefty social programs. What’s not to like?
The only answer I can come up with is that conservatives are now completely invested in their theory that we liberals loathe rich people so much that we don’t care. We all want to screw the wealthy so badly that we’re willing to forego the elections we’d win and the mountains of revenue we’d gain if we lowered their taxes. We hate them that much.
This is an interesting example of mocking a proposition without actually denying it.
Barack Obama is an excellent representative of the same political philosophy held by Kevin Drum and he is renowned for explicitly advocating increased taxation for purposes of “fairness” even if higher rates resulted in lower growth and less revenue being collected. He said exactly that, and by so doing defined himself, in one of the most famous of his campaign debates.
So, are we conservatives being unfair? Would left-wingers like Kevin Drum and Barack Obama ever really support tax cuts for wealthier Americans if that was what it took to grow the economy and provide government with the funding the left desires to spend?
The answer is No. Left-wingers will never accept the reality that growth can only be achieved by lower taxes. The notion that allowing the rich to keep more grows the economy and benefits all is unacceptable. The left has ridiculed and dismissed this commonsensical proposition as “trickle-down economics.”
Leftism is fundamentally based on envy and societal division, and its route to power relies on agitating the passions of the masses, on mobilizing them on the basis of their animosity toward those better off than themselves. A theory of economics that proposes that failing to punish the rich will make everyone better off fundamentally contradicts leftism’s basic methods and ideology.
The psychology of the left is one of bitter resentment and hatred of anyone better off than oneself. The true leftist would rather everyone were worse off, as long as no one was permitted to be better off than anyone else.
This is the classic peasant mentality, which is the subject of a thousand bitter Eastern European jokes.
“An angel appears to a poor peasant, and informs him that God has taken pity on his sufferings and has sent a messenger to relieve his hardships. The peasant, he is told, may make one wish, and the angel will grant his desire. There is, however, a catch. The angel informs the peasant that, whatever he wishes for, his neighbor will receive also, and that neighbor will be given twice as much. The peasant reflects a moment, and tells the angel: ‘Pluck out one of my eyes.'”
Even now, House liberals are strategizing about a final effort to amend the bill extending the Bush tax cut to raise its death tax provision from 35% to 45% and lower its threshold from $5 million to $3.5 million.
William McGurn, in Wall Street Journal editorial yesterday, pointed out that the democrat’s obsessive animosity toward private wealth is not, in fact, an attitude shared by most ordinary Americans, wealthy or non-wealthy. Americans admire achievement and tend to believe people are entitled to enjoy the fruits of their own effort or even of mere good fortune unmolested.
For all the talk about “fairness,” Mr. Obama, Mr. Sanders and their fellow Democrats never really tell us what the magic number for fairness is. Is it 35% of income? 50%? 75%? Though they never commit themselves to an actual number, in each and every case we get the same answer: Taxes should be higher than they are now, for their own sake.
Americans are a more hopeful and less envious people than that. We are now hearing from them. Thus the heart of the tea party’s objections to the Beltway status quo is fundamentally a moral one: that Washington is arrogant about how it takes and spends our money.
The American people understand this. It’s not just tea partiers or those who work on Wall Street. Many years ago, the activist Michael Harringtonâ€”he, like Mr. Sanders, a self-declared socialistâ€”wrote about the experience a friend of his had while campaigning in 1972 for George McGovern among the mostly black and Latina workers of New York City’s garment district.
Harrington told his friend that he must have had an easy time selling the candidate, given Mr. McGovern’s proposal for a 100% tax on every dollar over $500,000 of inheritance. This, Harrington thought, must have especially appealed to garment workers laboring for very low pay.
The friend informed Harrington how wrong he was: “Those underpaid women . . . were outraged that the government would confiscate the money they would hand down to their children if they made a million dollars.” No matter how he tried to tell these garment workers how unlikely they ever were to see a million dollars in their lifetimes, they couldn’t get past the idea that the government would take it from them if they did.
Peggy Noonan marvels at Barack Obama’s approach to cheerleading for compromise.
We have not in our lifetimes seen a president in this position. He spent his first year losing the center, which elected him, and his second losing his base, which is supposed to provide his troops. There isn’t much left to lose! Which may explain Tuesday’s press conference.
President Obama was supposed to be announcing an important compromise, as he put it, on tax policy. Normally a president, having agreed with the opposition on something big, would go through certain expected motions. He would laud the specific virtues of the plan, show graciousness toward the negotiators on the other sideâ€”graciousness implies that you wonâ€”and refer respectfully to potential critics as people who’ll surely come around once they are fully exposed to the deep merits of the plan.
Instead Mr. Obama said, essentially, that he hates the deal he just agreed to, hates the people he made the deal with, and hates even more the people who’ll criticize it. His statement was startling in the breadth of its animosity. Republicans are “hostage takers” who worship a “holy grail” of “tax cuts for the wealthy.” “That seems to be their central economic doctrine.”
As for the left, they ignore his accomplishments and are always looking for “weakness and compromise.” They are “sanctimonious,” “purist,” and just want to “feel good about” themselves. In a difficult world, they cling to their “ideal positions” and constant charges of “betrayals.”
Those not of the left might view all this as straight talk, and much needed. But if you were of the left it would only deepen your anger and sharpen your response. Which it did. “Gettysburg,” “sellout,” “disaster.”
The president must have thought that distancing himself from left and right would make him more attractive to the center. But you get credit for going to the center only if you say the centrist position you’ve just embraced is right. If you suggest, as the president did, that the seemingly moderate plan you agreed to is awful and you’ll try to rescind it in two years, you won’t leave the center thinking, “He’s our guy!” You’ll leave them thinking, “Note to self: Remove Obama in two years.”
This week, Obama seems to have hit the same point-of-no-return in which he is visibly angry with the American people for not supporting his policies that Jimmy Carter did at the time of his “malaise” speech.
Remember all the RINO Republicans back in the GOP majority Congress that voted on George W. Bush’s tax cuts? The only way it was possible to pass any tax reductions was to allow liberals to include expiration clauses.
The Snow Report lists the tax increases we have to look forward to.
In just six months, the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2011:
First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief
In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:
Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:
The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
The 25% bracket rises to 28%
The 28% bracket rises to 31%
The 33% bracket rises to 36%
The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%
Higher taxes on marriage and family. The â€œmarriage penaltyâ€ (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.
The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.
Did you know that just over the past 11 quarters, dating back to the June 2003 Bush tax cuts, America has increased the size of its entire economy by 20 percent? In less than three years, the U.S. economic pie has expanded by $2.2 trillion, an output add-on that is roughly the same size as the total Chinese economy, and much larger than the total economic size of nations like India, Mexico, Ireland, and Belgium.
This is an extraordinary fact, although you may be reading it here first. Most in the mainstream media would rather tout the faults of American capitalism than sing its praises. And of course, the media will almost always discuss supply-side tax cuts in negative terms, such as big budget deficits and static revenue losses. But here’s another suppressed fact: Since the 2003 tax cuts, tax-revenue collections from the expanding economy have been surging at double-digit rates while the deficit is constantly being revised downward.
For those who bother to look, the economic power of lower-tax-rate incentives is once again working its magic. While most reporters obsess about a mild slowdown in housing, the big-bang story is a high-sizzle pick-up in private business investment, which is directly traceable to Bush’s tax reform.