Out of all the things that President Obama said last night at the joint session of Congress, both good and bad, one segment really, really bothered me:
“In order to save our children from a future of debt, we will also end the tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. But let me perfectly clear, because I know you’ll hear the same old claims that rolling back these tax breaks means a massive tax increase on the American people: if your family earns less than $250,000 a year, a quarter of a million dollars, you will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut – that’s right, a tax cut – for 95% of working families. And these checks are on the way.”
Nevermind that the top 1% income earners make 21% of all income , (according to Vice President Biden) but pay a staggering 37% of all income taxes (11 times more than the bottom 25%)– we’re going to end so-called tax breaks for the rich. But, it gets even richer: at the same time, we’re going to give most everybody else a tax cut.
Raise taxes for some, and cut them for others– um, I’m pretty sure there’s an overused three-word phrase for this kind of thing: redistribution of wealth. Such a scheme denies the absolute right to private property (one of our alleged inalienable rights); instead, the government determines the utility of property in various hands. Under the guise of economic stimulus this time, the government figures that the rich can afford to part with more of their property, which can be more “stimulative” in the hands of others, so it must be justified to shift it around a bit. (Notice how the President appealed to “a quarter of a million dollars” as if to imply whoever makes more than that massive sum shouldn’t grumble about having to pay even more?)
And get this– “the checks are on the way!” The government saves the day again. Just keep voting for people who will take from others and give it to you.
I’m sorry, it’s really not complicated. All the sophisticated economic arguments in the world are not worth one whit when it comes to right and wrong. What’s more– the entire genius of the American system is built on inalienable rights. But it appears that recognizing them is increasingly becoming optional in these “trying times.”
Unfortunately, Lousiana governor Bobby Jindal’s Republican response to Obama’s speech was relatively flat and actually came off a bit condescending. That’s too bad, because the common sense message was lost a lot in his delivery. He didn’t seem like “one of us,” which will have to be the Republicans angle if they want to get elected going forward. Moral clarity will resonate with the American people– I don’t know why it has taken Rick Santelli for the Republicans to figure it out.
Meanwhile, in other completely newsworthy news, we’re supposed to get excited because Michelle Obama wore a sleeveless dress to her husband’s speech last night.