NATO and 'Paying Your Fair Share'

One of the great Democrat talking points, along with “Russia hacked the election” or “Trump is an illegitimate president” is their defense of high taxes, “Pay your fair share”. Skillful Democrat orators can weave all three slogans into a single speech, or if particularly skillful, a brief TV news interview.

What if an intrepid journalist, instead of pretending to be a bobble head, nodding along as the Democrat blathers on, asked a simple question. What is a “fair share”? How high should income tax rates be? And for what levels of income?

Should high taxes kick in for the top 10 percent of income earners, just over $100,000 per year? Sounds like a fat cat income, but perhaps not if it’s supporting a family, paying a mortgage, funding an ObamaCare family insurance plan, and trying to save for college, retirement, or a new car.

What about the top 3 percent, around $190,000, what members of Congress earn? Or how about the rarefied air of the top 1 percent, at $288,000 per year? And how high should the tax rate be for these levels of income? 50 percent? 70 percent? 90 percent?

No answers from the “pay your fair share” Democrats, as this question is not one they want to answer. Instead they prefer to use it as a political stick to beat on Republicans, who at least in theory want lower taxes. "Pay your fair share" is a rallying cry for class envy and warfare. Anyone earning more than you is considered to be rich, and that’s not fair. They should be hammered with higher taxes. And a vote for the Democrat is the only way to assuage this outrage.

Regardless of your tax rate and how you feel about it, you are required to pay, under penalty of interest, fines, or prison. But that’s you and me. What if we were talking about a country rather than a lowly American taxpayer?

CNN took a break from their anonymous sources and bombshell headlines regarding Jared Kushner now colluding with the Russians to write about Trump and NATO. Recall that the President called out our treaty allies for “not paying their fair share.” What a delicious irony. A bunch of socialist countries being shamed on the world stage for not practicing what they preach.

Specifically, Trump told fellow NATO heads of state, "Twenty-three of the 28 member nations are still not paying what they should." For NATO, the “fair share” is not a tax, but a guideline of what each member country should be spending on defense. After all, this is a defense treaty. An attack on one country is an attack on all, and they all need to be ready to pitch in to defend whichever country is attacked.

NATO members are supposed to spend 2 percent of their GDP on defense. In terms of the treaty, that is what is meant by “paying your fair share.” How are the various members doing?

The U.S., not surprisingly, leads the way, spending 3.6 percent of GDP on defense. Also above the 2 percent threshold are Greece, Estonia, the UK, and Poland. Falling short and not paying their fair share of 2 percent are France, Turkey, Germany, Italy, and Canada.

An analysis at Conservative Pundit takes this a step further, looking at actual dollars spent by the top ten NATO countries. In this analysis, the U.S. is providing 76 percent of the entire NATO military spending. Is it fair that the U.S. is paying three-quarters of NATO defense costs? Is that a “fair share”?

U.S. income taxes are similarly disproportionate in terms of who is paying what. The top 1 percent pay 38 percent of income taxes. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent and the top 50 percent fund 97 percent of tax revenues. Sounds much like NATO in terms of which countries are paying what.

How ironic that socialist countries like Canada, France, and Italy are not living up to what they require of their citizens, “pay your fair share.” Good for President Trump for calling these countries out on their hypocrisy.

If Mrs. Clinton was in the White House instead of wandering in the woods, would she have brought this up to NATO members? After all, during the campaign, she “declared it was time for the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes.” What about a president Bernie? A socialist who “rages against high earners paying a lower effective tax rate than blue-collar workers.” And who himself, interestingly paid a surprisingly low tax rate at 13 percent. Not much for a wealthy “3-percenter” member of Congress, paying at half of Trump’s 25 percent tax rate 2005.

Predictably, the establishment is outraged by Trump telling the world that the NATO emperor is not wearing any clothes. The Washington Post, maintaining their 90 plus percent negativity toward Trump, called his NATO behavior a “national embarrassment.”

No, the national embarrassment is allowing America to be taken advantage of within NATO. The guy who frequently goes out with his friends for dinner and always seems to get stuck with the check. And then these “friends” make fun of their host, despite his generosity.

The European press is no kinder to Trump than the American media. Germany’s ARD is 98 percent negative in their Trump coverage. Almost perfect in their negativity. The Financial Times 84 percent negative and the BBC 74 percent anti-Trump.

All socialists. All demanding that others “pay their fair share”. Along comes Trump asking them to put their money where their mouths are and somehow, he is the embarrassment? It’s NATO that should be embarrassed. Afraid of an unlikely threat of Russia, ignoring the clear and present danger of unfettered Muslim immigration, expecting Uncle Sam to pay for dinner once again. And bail them out if and when a threat manifests.

Kudos to President Trump for raising this issue and turning the tables on the “fair share” crowd.

Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter

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