“What drags our entire economy down is when the benefits of economic growth and productivity go only to the few … and the gap between those at the very, very top and everybody else keeps growing wider and wider.”
With Rick Santorum’s exit from the Republican race, the country now informally enters the general election. Not surprisingly, the president seems to be revisiting the broken wealth redistributive philosophy that was so successful in the Soviet Union.
To be fair, Americans have been benefiting from relatively lower Federal taxes in recent years, while the government has been on an accelerated spending binge. Much of this state of affairs is by design. During recessions, deficit spending can help fill slack consumer demand. However, at some point the American people and their government must restore the balance by paying more taxes and spending less, respectively.
As such, I do not disagree in theory that Americans ought to pay more taxes to help reduce the deficit. The American government can accomplish much of this task by simplifying the tax code so that the pain is spread around and the overwhelming majority of Americans pay more.
By default, a simplified tax code would result in the wealthy paying a higher percentage of their income in taxes. Nevertheless, rather than supporting a policy that would ask all Americans to contribute their “fair share” to reduce long-term fiscal deficits, President Obama chooses to scapegoat a small percentage of the population, and demand that it carry even more of the outsized tax burden than it already does.
How is this responsible? How will dragging one group down raise everyone up? What happened to improving the conditions for economic prosperity for everyone? How does the president think inciting class envy against a tiny fraction of the nation’s citizens will help solve America’s problems?
After all, when almost half of the population no longer pays Federal income taxes, they will increasingly vote for more programs from which they benefit, but for which they bear none of the costs. The result is ultimately bankruptcy followed by chaos. Wealth redistributive policies do nothing but increase government dependency, and stifle the competitive spirit that once made America the envy of the world.
Surely, President Obama is above engaging in such base and divisive politics. Scapegoating didn’t work well amidst the 1930s’ economic turmoil. It is unlikely to offer a good solution today.