We’re not broke. The rich simply aren’t paying enough in taxes. Over to you, Al Franken.
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By thinking that America’s budget problems can be solved by taxing the rich, Dionne and Franken make both an economic and a moral error. Economically, they think in a “static” model, meaning they assume that people’s behavior does not change when tax rates change.
While no rational person would make such an assumption, it happens to be the way that Congress also analyzes tax proposals, leading to a bias toward tax hikes. A more rational “dynamic” model, while certainly subject to bias from the modelers’ political leanings or pressure from politicians for tweaks that benefit their desired results, would nevertheless be more realistic than viewing Americans as sheep. As Richard Rahn points out regarding static modeling and bogus multiplier assumptions, “bad numbers lead to bad policy.”
Dionne’s moral error is perhaps even greater than his economic naïveté. He sees governments which if not technically “broke” today are rapidly speeding toward that wall, either for actual bankruptcies of states or for federal actions to pay bills that devalue the dollar so dramatically that America’s condition will be with compared Greece’s without hyperbole. The dollar demolition risks rapid inflation and devastating effects on Americans’ net worth. But instead of putting the brakes on the speeding car about to hit the wall, Dionne suggests taking the cars of the “rich” and smashing them first as if that actually accomplishes anything but to salve his disdain for those who have achieved the American Dream.
The fact that some Americans aren’t broke does not mean that our governments are solvent. While “we” are not all broke, that says nothing about the financial state of governments. As George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux rightly argues, “Just because (government) is a creature of popular sovereignty and has the muscle to confiscate assets doesn’t mean that every cent of every citizen’s property belongs to a collective pool of assets owned by ‘us.’”
In other words, Dionne and his ilk’s argument to tax “the rich” implies nothing less than socialism: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need, laziness, pre-existing condition, or excitement that she won’t have to pay her own mortgage once Barack Obama takes office.
For liberals, the top 5% of earners and perhaps the top 25% of earners (the threshold for which is a hardly-rich $67,000 adjusted gross income) are little more than serfs, people who should be thankful that they’re allowed to work in a nation properly owned by everyone but them. The “rich” should apparently pay more and shut up, allowing Dionne’s beloved governments, engorged like leeches on the financial blood of its citizens, to keep on drinking.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?