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July 15, 2009
Washington Post calls out Obama for his 'tax the rich' mirage
Although the paper comes out for higher tax rates on the "rich" generally, they skewer Democrats and the administration for trying to sell their health care plan by promising to tax only the wealthy:
But there is no case to be made for the House Democratic majority's proposal to fund health-care legislation through an ad hoc income tax surcharge for top-earning households. The new surtax would hit individual households earning $350,000 and above. It would start at 1 percent, bumping up to 1.5 percent at $500,000 in income and to 5.4 percent at $1 million. The new levy would begin in 2011 and is supposed to raise $540 billion over 10 years, about half the projected cost of health-care reform. The rest of the money would come from reduced spending on Medicare and Medicaid -- though the surtax for the lower two categories would jump by a percentage point each in 2013 unless the Office of Management and Budget determines that the rest of the bill has saved more than $150 billion.
The deeper issue, though, is whether it is wise to pay for a far-reaching new federal social program by tapping a revenue source that would surely need to be tapped if and when Congress and the Obama administration get serious about the long-term federal deficit. That moment may be approaching faster than they would like. Even if Congress pulls off a budget-neutral expansion of health care, the gap between federal revenue and expenditures will reach 7 percent of gross domestic product in 2020, according to the Congressional Budget Office. And that's assuming that the economy returns to full employment between now and then.
Simply put; you can't get there from here. The catastrophe heading our way with entitlements will mean higher taxes - much higher taxes - for all. With a $52 trillion shortfall already owed by social security and medicare, someone, somewhere down the line is going to have to pay.
Taxing the wealthy never works. But in Obama's vision, class warfare is more important than developing rational alternatives.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky