The Fourth of July is a good time to talk about taxes.
The most popular slogan among those who want to increase “revenue” without serious slashing of programs is that we must “ask the rich to pay more.” We will do more than ask politely, if it come to this, we will force them.
Why should the rich–or anybody else, for that matter–be forced to pick up the tab for out-of-control spending that does no good for the country? The rich may be different from you and me and even very annoying, but they do have rights. I’d say that the right not to have more of what belongs to them confiscated to pay for Senator Pander’s pet program is a fundament right of a prosperous and stable society.
It’s Senator Pander, not the rich, who most needs to change. Senator Pander, who got elected promising to do things with other people’s money, likes to say that the rich must “sacrifice” for the good of the country. Look, I wouldn’t ask Louis XIV to sacrifice a gardener for President Obama’s wasteful stimulus. There are things that make sacrifice worth it. The stimulus was not one. Jeffrey Anderson notes in the Weekly Standard:
When the Obama administration releases a report on the Friday before a long weekend, it’s clearly not trying to draw attention to the report’s contents. Sure enough, the “Seventh Quarterly Report” on the economic impact of the “stimulus,” released on Friday, July 1, provides further evidence that President Obama’s economic “stimulus” did very little, if anything, to stimulate the economy, and a whole lot to stimulate the debt. (Snip) In other words, the government could simply have cut a $100,000 check to everyone whose employment was allegedly made possible by the “stimulus.”
Cost to taxpayer per stimulus-created job: $278,000 per job.
When the thrifty rich create a job, they get better value than Senator Pander. The reason: They are using their own money, while Senator Pander is using–well–their money, too. But he’s more interested in keeping his job than anything else. After all, it’s not his money.
President Obama is using class warfare to make us hate the “corporate jet” set (but not the taxpayer-funded jet set!). Still, no matter how annoying the rich are, the president is beginning to be much more so. Peter Wehner notes that is last week’s press conference the president mentioned eliminating the corporate jet tax loophole six different times, as if these jets were the main impediment to balancing the budget:
Beyond that, Obama spoke about the tax loopholes as if they were fiscally significant, offering us the choice between allowing tax loopholes for corporate jet and gutting student loans, food safety, the weather service, and more.
The game Obama was playing was both ludicrous and self-indicting.
Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post decided to fact-check the Obama claim. “It’s a potent image, but in the context of a $4-trillion goal, it is essentially meaningless,” according to Kessler. “The item is so small the White House could not even provide an estimate of the revenue that would be raised, but other estimates suggest it would amount to $3 billion over 10 years.” Meanwhile, student financial assistance, just for 2011, is roughly $42 billion.
Here’s Kessler’s verdict: “So the corporate jet loophole – which involves the fact that such assets can be depreciated over five years, rather than the seven for commercial jets – just is not going to raise a lot of money. It certainly wouldn’t save many student loans.”
In other words, the most memorable example Obama used in his press conference – the need to eliminate a tax loophole for corporate jets – is comparable to trying to dig a tunnel with a teaspoon. And it’s not simply that Obama resorts to this bit of sophistry; it is that in the process he presents himself as the only adult in Washington, America’s intrepid truth teller, our modern-day Socrates….
His intellectual dishonesty and unparalleled self-image would be difficult enough to take separately. Together, it’s all a bit much. The good news is, in the end the truth will out. And I’m betting regardless of how many false statements the president makes, regardless of how many straw men he trots out, he cannot escape the bitter fruits of his policies. In 2008, Obama relied on promises of what he would do. In 2012, he will have to rely on deeds he has done. That will make all the difference.