President Obama, making the case for extending unemployment befefits without offsetting spending cuts, surrounded himself by several jobless Americans outside the White House today, and lamented that, “the same people who didn’t have any problem spending hundreds of billions of dollars on tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans are now saying we shouldn’t offer relief to middle-class Americans Jim or Leslie or Denise who really need help.”
Though this statement isn’t particularly surprising coming from Obama, it’s always worth emphasizing how backward it is to view tax cuts as “spending” and welfare payments as “relief.” When the government enacts tax breaks, all it’s doing is allowing people to keep more of their own money. To suggest that this constitutes “spending” is to assume that, by nature, government has the right to all earned income. The fact that it’s a perfectly routine talking point for a liberal politician does not make it any less perverse.
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