Class warfare has become a key component of Obama’s policies and re-election rhetoric. The components of such a tactic are easily recognized: 1) the political opponent will hurt those among us who are most vulnerable (elderly, poor, etc); 2) the political opponent does not care about the “middle class”; 3) the political opponent wants to benefit those most advantaged (the rich/elite). The third point of this strategy is the one that is most popular with Obama, as he continuously and intentionally rails against “millionaires and billionaires” in order to separate that particular population from mainstream America.
Besides the obvious baseness of such an argument coming from the President of the United States, it is critically important to note that he doesn’t actually ever define a millionaire or billionaire. The amount of true millionaires and billionaires are so few in number, that taxing them more – as Obama plans to do – will not help with any significant deficit reduction. His assertion is pure dishonest political speech because you cannot possibly create enough revenue from the millionaire/billionaire population even if you were to tax them at 100%. Our fiscal situation is so dire in this country that an increased tax on this group in any large or small amount solves nothing.
Unfortunately, none of this matters to Obama. He intentionally throws the labels around so that they conveniently fit whatever emotive language will coerce voters and supporters to rally behind his outrageous fiscal policies. It is classical class-warfare: antagonizing lower socio-economic groups against the “rich”.
Obama has stated his intent to raise the marginal rates on the top income earners, (aka the “rich”, “wealthy”, or “top 2%”). Yet according to the IRS, the threshold for this bracket is actually 200K for individual taxpayers or 250K for married couples. These incomes are certainly no where near millionaire or billionaire amounts.
Since there is a clear federal definition for a group of taxpayers whom Obama is targeting for tax increases, Obama really has no right to say millionaires and billionaires as a collective for the highest income earners. But he uses the generic terms anyway. By making it sound like one kind of people, it pits the average/middle-class against “the other guy”. And if he actually tried to define that other guy instead of resorting to generic terms, it would include a lot of people who would be upset to be included.
History shows us that higher tax rates results in less – not more – tax collections. Democrats like to wax poetic about the high rates of 70% and even 91%. What they fail to comprehend or deliberately don’t explain is that at those times, there were an enormous amount of tax shelters such as real estate, so that people could legally lower that taxable income and would not have to actually pay the outrageous tax rates.
With the IRC reforms of 1986, Reagan reduced the tax rates to 28% in exchange for getting rid of the tax shelters. As a result, the amount of federal income collected was more at 28% and a clean tax code than at 91% and tax shelters, because at 28%, it really wasn’t worth the time, cost, and effort to hide money. If the tax rates are going to rise again – in addition to state and local tax hikes – the tax burden in this country will be staggering. People will do one of two things: 1) start finding ways not to pay it like they did when the rates were outrageous or 2) stop working and investing so much because it’s just going to get taken away from them. When that happens, it’s not good for the economy.
Blindly going after “millionaires and billionaires” (who earn $200,000 or more) is simply a tactic Obama uses to pit classes against one another for political gain. Imposing higher taxes on that segment of the population most able to invest in and aid our recovery is true economic ignorance. Why take additional money from those taxpayers who have been able to create wealth and employment successfully and give it to the government and politicians who have proven their ability to mismanage and squander income?