Class Warfare Ignores How the Rich Got Rich
The rich pay more taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they do not pay, as a percentage, taxes they can afford to pay. So says Warren Buffet, the world’s third richest man. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women working in his office. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid less as a percentage of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. “How can this be fair?” he asked. “How can this be right?” Buffett continued, “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” The article’s author, Ben Stein, offered several arguments for raising taxes on the rich. But nothing was ever said by Stein about Buffett’s education, time investment, or risk. In other words, nothing was said about how Buffett got rich.
Warren Buffett, known as the Oracle of Omaha, pushed the issue of taxes to the discussion forefront by urging members of the new Congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction to stop “coddling” him and other affluent Americans and raise their taxes. There is a mechanism for paying more taxes voluntarily to the US government, but nowhere in the article did it say that Buffett availed himself of that service. Buffett called for making the tax system more fair by rolling back the “Bush tax cuts” on people who earn more than $1 million a year and on income from capital gains and dividends, primary job creators.
Liberals have driven the debt-ceiling debate into the class-warfare ditch, promising most Americans they will continue to get something for nothing. This undermines America’s entrepreneurial spirit. Obama is pushing for what he calls a “reasonable proposition” (again, no definition of reasonable) of tax increases on the rich, families with incomes of $250,000 or more. “We weren’t balancing the budget off of middle-class families and working-class families. And we weren’t letting hedge-fund managers or authors of best-selling books off the hook,” said Obama. Unsaid was that the top 10% of earners are already on the hook for 70% of total income taxes, and the bottom 50% pay next to nothing. If “fairness” is as important to liberals as they say it is, they would be seeking balance by raising taxes on the low end of the income scale.
Just Tax The Rich
What’s wrong with the rich getting richer? Larry Beinhart, at Alternet, first quotes Timothy Noah, in “The United States of Inequality,” “Income distribution in the United States [has become] more unequal than in Guyana, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, and roughly on par with Uruguay, Argentina, and Ecuador.” Countries with wide income inequality don’t lead the world in research, technology, industry, and innovation. They’re unstable. They have large underclasses. They have high rates of crime. They have little opportunity. Countries with high levels of income inequality are third-world countries. Then Beinhart continues, “Here is how people can deal with high income inequality. The primary weapon is a progressive tax structure. As people move up the income ladder they pay a higher rate at each rung.”
Says John Stossel, “Of children who were born to the poorest fifth of Americans in 1970, more than half of them rose out of that group by the year 2000. Similarly, being born to a rich family didn’t guarantee success: 61% of the kids born to the richest fifth of Americans in 1970 were no longer in that group thirty years later. That also means that 61% of the richest fifth in 2000 came from poorer families.”
From Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, “Barack Obama told the nation last Wednesday [April] that “improvements” in Medicare and hiking taxes on the wealthy would stabilize government spending and bring deficit spending to what can charitably be described as a dull roar. The Wall Street Journal does some fact checking on these claims and finds them entirely false. Even if the “rich” gets defined down to the top 10% of filers – whose average annual household income is $114,000 – the level of revenue from even a 100% tax would still not close the budget gap.”
Here is something very interesting from the Wall Street Journal. Obama’s strategy has been to pretend not to increase taxes for middle class voters while looking for ways to do it. His 2009 budget included a “climate revenues” section from the indirect carbon tax of cap and trade, and a value-added tax (VAT). Most tax deductions go mainly to the middle class. These include the deductions for state and local tax payments, mortgage interest, employer-sponsored health insurance, 401(k) contributions, and charitable donations. The irony is that even as Obama says he wants the rich to pay more, his proposals would make the tax code less progressive than it is today. Obama continues targeting the middle class for tax increases to pay for an entitlement state run amuck, while claiming he only wants to tax the rich.
From this article, we learn that class warfare in the United States is heating up. Many are saying that higher taxes on the wealthy is the solution to our problems. But is that what we really want to do? Here are some facts to consider. [subsetted by me]
- The top 1 percent of all income earners already pay 39.5 percent of all federal income taxes.
- When you take all forms of federal taxation into account, the top 1 percent of all income earners pay 28.1 percent of all federal taxes.
- The top 20 percent of all income earners in the United States pay approximately 86 percent of all federal income taxes.
- Approximately 45 percent of all U.S. households pay absolutely no income taxes at all.
- Overall, U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes.
- 59 percent of all Americans now receive a government payout of one form or another.
- The ultra-wealthy keep much of their wealth outside of the United States so that the government cannot tax it.
- The United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the developed world.
Consider, as the late, great Paul Harvey said, “Corporations don’t pay taxes. The increased costs are just passed on to consumers.”
“Tax The Rich” Is Nothing More Than Class Warfare Rhetoric
Says Ralph Alter, after making a bet with a conservative friend that Obama will not be re-elected in 2012, “He, like many Americans, fears that Obama’s class warfare strategy will pay off.” Despite liberal indoctrination, this is still the United States of America. Our nation, founded on resistance to structured class society, welcomed imigrants to America’s shores yearning to be free and independent. Almost all Americans believe that he or she can become rich here in the land of plenty. People who do get rich do not want to have the government confiscate almost all of his riches. Despite the class warfare drivel propagandized by liberals, average Joe American doesn’t begrudge the rich their riches. What they do begrudge is incompetent Democrats wasting the American Dream.
The next time you hear Obama, some Democrat, or some liberal spout off that “We should raise taxes on the rich because they can afford it, because they don’t pay their fair share,” remember that all they are doing is trying to use the rhetoric of class warfare to make their (talking) point. And if a liberal begins an argument with, “Tax the rich,” dazzle him or her with logic. Spread the word – class warfare rhetoric is just that, nothing but talk! Remember, November, 2012, cannot get here too soon.
But that’s just my opinion
Crossposted at RWNO, my personal web site.