If any of my readers truly believe the president's mouthpiece, Press Secretary Jay Carney, in professing the administration’s intent to raise taxes on the wealthy as anything other than an undisguised attempt to curry favor for votes by inciting class envy, I have some Arizona waterfront property for sale.
Despite President Barack Obama’s chastisement of the rich for failing to pay their "fair share," George Bernard Shaw’s timeless observation — "A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul" — is the key.
Consequently, when that government courts Paul by a 99-1 ratio over the targeted Peter — the top 1 percent of taxpayers — it is nothing less than a blatant example of class warfare.
And, when one realizes that approximately half the Pauls pay no income tax at all, the Democrats see a lucrative opportunity in trolling for votes inasmuch as the non-paying members of society are viewed as ready recruits to the "Robin Hood" philosophy of taking from the rich to benefit the poor.
The president employed cleverly worded phrasing: "If we're not willing to ask those who've done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit … then the logic, the math, says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We've got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor."
That ignores the salient facts of who actually pays the costs of government.
As an example, the richest 1 percent earn 19 percent of the nation’s income but pay nearly 40 percent of the income tax. When just 10 percent of the taxpayers generate 70 percent of income tax revenue, just who is not paying their fair share?
Another deceptive ruse is the gimmicky "Buffett Rule," named for multimillionaire Warren Buffett.
Buffett earned the president's enduring gratitude for his unequivocal declaration that the super rich should pay far more in taxes, along with his observation that his secretary paid a higher rate of income tax than his 17.4 percent of his taxable income.
Obama is using Buffett as the centerpiece of his argument for raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires. In reality, however, the facts expose subterfuge in the "Buffett Rule."
In the matter of the multimillionaire paying taxes at a lower rate than his employees: Those earnings are largely derived from capital gains, which are taxed at 15 percent, far below the wage income of his well-compensated subordinates, whose tax rate averages 36 percent.
The president has long advocated raising the capital gains rate in the spirit of "fairness." This, however, would in turn raise the taxes of nearly half of the middle class who also invest in the market and depend upon capital gains and interest income for retirement.
While a few millionaires and billionaires might be taxed at lower rates than the middle-class worker, the wealthiest Americans pay far more in taxes than the middle class and are taxed at a much higher rate.
Individuals and families earning $1 million-plus can expect to pay a little more than 24 percent of their income in income tax, while those making between $100,000 and $125,000 will see 9.9 percent of their income go to federal income tax.
If Buffett, whose federal tax bill at 17.4 percent totaled $6,938,744, believes he is undertaxed, he is in no way prohibited from anteing additional funds in the form of a check to the U.S. Treasury.
It is interesting to note that the 2010 Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans had total assets of nearly $1.4 trillion, which, if taken by the government, would not cover this administration's average annual deficit of $1.5 trillion.
Moreover, those 400 households would be exempt from next year’s tax rolls because the government had appropriated and liquidated their assets.
Contrary to popular belief, the rich do not exist in sufficient numbers or possess the wealth to make up for government spending excesses.
A far more equitable and effective way to initiate growth and increase revenue is comprehensive tax reform, which actually appeals to those on the right and the left.
Reforming the tax code by removing noxious loopholes while also lowering marginal tax rates promotes economic efficiency by removing tax dodges that distort the flow of capital, thereby reducing productivity.
Soaking the rich is no substitute for fixing a corrupted tax code that provides unfair advantage to the wealthy and their lobbyists and lawyers.
The act of raising taxes on individual tax payers in lieu of fixing an out-of-whack and destructive tax policy is doomed to failure for the simple reason that treating the symptoms instead of the malady is a no-win solution.
Demonizing the rich and the "fat cat" bankers might or might not be a viable campaign strategy — whether the poor and the middle class can be induced to class hatred of the "greedy" wealthy class is yet to be known.
Nevertheless, if it should be successful, stand by for a lowering of the standard for classifying the rich — if $250,000 is the barometer today and there is no evidence of economic growth, how about $100,000 identifying the "rich" household in 2016? Overtaxing the rich is but a futile stopgap measure for campaign purpose — from whom does the government find revenue when we run out of the wealthy? We can do better than employ populist themes to further divide the country.