First they came for the billionaires
By Mike Hayutin (Guest Opinion)
First they raised taxes on billionaires, I wasn’t a billionaire so I didn’t care.
Then they raised taxes on millionaires, I wasn’t a millionaire so I didn’t care.
Then they raised taxes on those making $500,000, I don’t make $500,000 so I didn’t care.
Then they raised taxes on those making $250,000, I don’t make $250,00 so I didn’t care.
Then they raised taxes on those making $150,000, I don’t make $150,000 but I began to take notice because many of my friends do make $150,000.
Then they raised taxes on tobacco, sugar, trans-fats, the Internet, gasoline and medical devices. Now cared but by that point opportunity and wealth had disappeared from the land. It was too late.
My little theft of Martin Niemoller’s take on the rise of National Socialism in Germany is meant to be instructive for those who have let envy, resentment and class warfare influence their desire to make those filthy rich pay their “fair share.” Envy, resentment and class warfare can be as damaging to a healthy economy as racism to a culture.
The campaign rhetoric on the left was and continues to be most often centered on the mantra of millionaires and billionaires failing to pay enough in taxes. But funny thing, the taxes proposed slide down the income scale with great velocity, as the beast’s appetite has no limit. The 20 new taxes in the Affordable Care Act will impact average wage earners. The proposed additional tax on tobacco, Polosi suggested value added tax (in addition to not as a replacement for) and trillion dollars of new taxes proposed by the Obama administration’s budget will do like wise. You see we have a dynamic economy. Taxes passed onto medical devise manufacturers; small business owners and yes-even corporations will eventually be passed along to average Joe. Did we not learn our lessons from the results of the imposition of the luxury tax and the alternate minimum tax? The average Joe paid the price for ill-conceived efforts to get the rich to pay their fare share.
The problem my dear friends are not that “wealthy,” “greedy” or “corrupt” corporations pay too little. The problem is a beast called big government. It is a voracious beast that will consume resources in the most inefficient ways and in endless amounts. Yes, this beast is necessary but he must be tamed. We are 17 trillion dollars beyond necessary government service funding, on our way to 25 trillion in short order.
It is delusion-primed envy that motivates the call to increase taxes on the job creators. Sure there is greed and corruption among the wealthy and those running corporations. But corrupt businesses and individuals can go broke, to jail, can’t print money and do not have the power to tax or incarcerate. Government does.
One need only glance at a chart measuring the rate of increased revenue against spending. Both have been going up for decades. But since about 2001 the separation due to the massive spending has dwarfed rising revenue. (with a supercharger after 2010)
As has been stated so clearly and correctly, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Western Europe ignored the beast for decades. Generations became dependent on the beast. The result is Western Europe in economic and social turmoil. Austerity after decades of gorging is exquisitely painful. The cost and pain of taming this beast will increase exponentially the longer it takes to put him on a diet.
Please don’t succumb to the alluring call of resentment and envy. Support caging and slimming down the Gargantuan before he consumes the American dream.