Thursday, April 8, 2010

We've Heard This No-Tax Line Before

During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama frequently promised -- in varying tones from sympathetic purring to thundering ferocity -- not to raise taxes on anyone earning less than $250,000. Just a reminder...

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However, now that his historically unprecedented spending binges are reality, is that promise going to hold?
Guess:

We all know it’s coming, but I’m reasonably sure Volcker missed a memo instructing advisors not, repeat not, to mention this publicly until, oh, say, the day after Election Day 2012.

As it is, look for Gibbsy’s spin tomorrow to be, “B-b-but he was Reagan’s Fed chairman!”

Volcker, answering a question from the audience at a New York Historical Society event, said the value-added tax “was not as toxic an idea” as it has been in the past and also said a carbon or other energy-related tax may become necessary.

Though he acknowledged that both were still unpopular ideas, he said getting entitlement costs and the U.S. budget deficit under control may require such moves. “If at the end of the day we need to raise taxes, we should raise taxes,” he said.

Krauthammer’s column on the VAT came out a few weeks ago, but if you missed it at the time, now’s your chance to catch up. Perfection:

Obama set out to be a consequential president, on the order of Ronald Reagan. With the VAT, Obama’s triumph will be complete. He will have succeeded in reversing Reaganism. Liberals have long complained that Reagan’s strategy was to starve the (governmental) beast in order to shrink it: First, cut taxes — then ultimately you have to reduce government spending.

Obama’s strategy is exactly the opposite: Expand the beast, and then feed it. Spend first — which then forces taxation. Now that, with the institution of universal health care, we are becoming the full entitlement state, the beast will have to be fed.

Precisely. The One’s perverse insight was that a giant federal expansion of health-care benefits had to be passed before any major entitlement reform could happen. Had he tackled the latter problem first, declaring that America had reached a moment of fiscal emergency and demanding that both parties address the crisis, he would have done his country a world of good but in the process created two problems for himself. First, the political fallout to his party from cutting entitlements likely would have been devastating, which would have wrecked any chance at passing health-care reform aside from a modest GOP bill. And second, even if the Democrats survived the electoral backlash, they’d have a hard time trying to sell the idea of a brand new entitlement after the country had sacrificed so much to get its fiscal house in order. No, the only way to get O-Care done was to add it to the entitlement basket first and then wait for dependency to work its magic so that, when the crisis finally hits full force, it’s already a fact of life. That was a fantastically reckless thing to do but he wanted his agenda passed at all costs. And I do mean “all costs.”

George H. W. Bush was rightfully excoriated for promising, "Read my lips: no new taxes!", and it eventually lost him re-election. Barack Obama has done the same thing here, and given the staggering new spending he has enacted he cannot possibly keep his word. Single term, anyone?

Still, that's one of the biggest problems with this administration - they've made some sweeping expansions in the size and reach of government, with nothing but lying promises to pay it all back later. But by passing the expansions first, they're trying to get more enough Americans hooked that they'll pay any cost later.
Think deliberate forced crack addiction, and you've about got it.

And remember that tax tipping point? Sadly, we're getting veeeeery close:

In recent years, credits for low- and middle-income families have grown so much that a family of four making as much as $50,000 will owe no federal income tax for 2009, as long as there are two children younger than 17, according to a separate analysis by the consulting firm Deloitte Tax.

... The result is a tax system that exempts almost half the country from paying for programs that benefit everyone, including national defense, public safety, infrastructure and education. It is a system in which the top 10 percent of earners — households making an average of $366,400 in 2006 — paid about 73 percent of the income taxes collected by the federal government.

The bottom 40 percent, on average, make a profit from the federal income tax, meaning they get more money in tax credits than they would otherwise owe in taxes. For those people, the government sends them a payment.

The bottom line here is that a full 47% of Americans now pay no income taxes. 47%! Toss in another 3.1%, and we're finished. Some rich liberals are quick to boast about needing to pay more, but it's interesting to note that they could send in extra payments any time they want...but they don't. Go figure. They just think that other people should pay more.

Hope-n-change, baby!


There's my two cents.

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