Framing the Dialogue

Kick the Rich Down the Road

Politicians succeed by engaging us with truths (usually only half truths) to get us riled up for their cause which is ultimately about getting them reelected. Few politicians care about anything more than achieving this goal. They avoid the tough decisions while decrying that the other side won’t make the tough decisions. The good news for American citizens is that we have a free press that sorts out complex issues and will not let politicians get away with the half truths. Okay that was dripping with sarcasm, but I am a dreamer and that is the way our country is supposed to work.

Since I aspire to be “rich” someday I am sensitive to attacks on those who make more money. It is entirely interesting those politicians who decry the “rich” are mostly rich themselves. Class warfare is a timeless tradition and with the budget issues facing our country it promises to heat up. The problem is that Obama and his fellow progressive have a rather simple task – to demonize those who have more than the rest of us. This play on petty jealousies is simple and unfortunately effective.

Our side takes a little longer to explain and cannot fit on a bumper sticker on a talking points memo circulated to lame stream media outlets for broadcast. Walter Williams’ recent article in Townshall titled Eat the Rich provides some wonderful concepts to help folks point out the economic fallacies perpetrated by the left;

According to the IRS approximately 2 percent of Americans are rich (when you define rich as making over $250,000 per year)

• Congress is projected to spend around $10 billion per day on this budget

• If ALL income above $250,000 was taken (confiscated, withheld, and stolen) from citizens it would only last our federal government 141 days.

• That would leave an additional 224 days left without any money

• If we also tax evil corporate profits at 100 percent that would only feed the government for another 40 days (sum of all profits from the Fortune 500 firms is estimated to be around $400 billion)

• We are now at July 1 and there is no more money coming in.

• So why not take all of the stocks, bonds, yachts, and other luxury items from the rich to further spread their earned wealth? That would get us to mid August leaving four and a half months left to feed a hungry federal spending hog.

That would seem to leave the other 98 percent of us to pick up the tab. You must also remember that a very large percent of Americans on the lower scale pay no taxes. That 98 percent just became a much smaller group with which to share the burden. Can you imagine who easy it will be to slide the $250,000 threshold to $200,000, or $150,000, and then to $100,000? I have little doubt that progressives are “focus-grouping” terms and amounts to determine what numbers to use. All they need is a starting point for the limit. Changing it later will be easy.

Mr. Williams and many others have shown that the U.S. government has a spending problem. It is easy to posture for benefits for the poor and medical coverage for the needy and grants for Elmo and bazillions of dollars for kids’ education, but it is tough to make the tough call. Anyone, including Paul Ryan, who dares to speak about reform, will be vilified. It speaks volumes of his fortitude that he has a written plan to fix many things though not all.

My analogy for progressive government is that of a SCUBA diver. The diver wants to explore Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and figures how much oxygen will be needed for the journey. He drops off of the boat with a big splash much like we’ve seen Jacques Cousteau do on television many times. As he explores he gets further and further and deeper and deeper away from his planned itinerary. His experience is so rich that he must continue even though his tank is perhaps getting low. A unique thing about SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) is that when the tank is empty it is empty. You take a breath and if there’s no more in the tank then there is no more in the tank. You don’t know it’s your last breath until after you have taken it.

It is politically expedient to kick the rich until there is that last breath. As Williams points out,

“when government taxes profits, corporations report fewer profits and greater costs. When individuals face higher income taxes, they report less income, buy tax shelters and hide their money. It’s not just rich people who try to avoid taxes, but all of us — liberals, conservatives and libertarians…whether taxes are high or low, people make adjustments in their economic behavior…we must keep in mind that rich people didn’t become rich by being stupid.

After all aren’t we Taxed Enough Already (TEA Party)?

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