Friday, August 22, 2008

The Obama Tax Plan: Change or More of the Same, Liberal Redistribution Scheme?
By W. Sherman

Much has been written about Senator Barak Obama’s ideas on tax policy, lately. Earlier this week, William McGurn wrote a great editorial on the single factor that drives Senator Obama’s tax policy: fairness.

For starters, we know that Obama wants to raise marginal income tax rates on the country’s top-income earners, while cutting taxes for the middle class. We also know that he wants to slap a wind-fall profits tax on “Big Oil.” We know that senior citizens will have to pay zero income taxes, and we also know that Obama wants to increase the payroll tax on persons making more than $250,000 by four percent. The motivation behind this policy? Fairness.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Mr. McGurn gave a laundry list of instances in which Obama stated that persons making a certain amount of money have to pay more taxes in the name of fairness. According to McGurn, Obama told ABC’s Charlie Gibson “I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” McGurn concluded that for Obama, “Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it's done in the name of fairness.”

Obama’s tax policy looks a lot like those of liberals that have run before him, which is too bad, given that he fancies himself the candidate of “change.” In fact, Obama’s tax policy is nothing more than a manifestation of the famous quote by the late Senator Russell Long, “Don’t tax me; don’t tax thee; tax that fellow behind the tree.” Under the Obama plan, the “rich” and “Big Oil” will pay all the taxes, the middle class will pay a lot less, and senior citizens, a group with which Obama may have trouble electorally, will pay no taxes.

Why have this policy? Because it is fair. Fairness is not just a goal of Mr. Obama’s tax policy; rather, it is the goal. Mr. McGurn notes that Obama is certainly willing to sacrifice increases in government revenues in the name of fairness: Charlie Gibson pointed out to Obama that the reduction in capital gains taxes actually resulted in more government revenue, and an increase in these taxes may result in lower government revenue. Nevertheless, Obama stated that, in the name of fairness, these tax rates should go up.

McGurn notes that the top 1% of income-earners in this country pay 40% of the nation’s income taxes—the highest in 40 years. The top 10%, McGurn stated, pay 71% of the nation’s income taxes. According to Mr. Obama, fairness demands these folks pay more, all other consequences be damned.

As kids, most of us learn that life isn’t fair. Hopefully, tax policy is the same way.

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