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Cracking Down On ‘Fat Cats’

October 7, 2012
Mike Myer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Class warfare has been around for centuries. It is not an invention of modern politicians, though some of them are trying hard to perfect the technique as an election campaign strategy.

Never mind how many jobs that may cost for Americans. That's how liberal politicians see it, anyway.

President Barack Obama, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and folks like them understand that demonizing success plays well to voters who haven't been successful - whether they've tried to be or not.

But let's look at the idea of increasing taxes on the successful - not all of whom are rich, by any means:

-- First, how about Obama's insistence the well-to-do and even those in the upper middle class ought to "pay their fair share"?

In 2009, 36.73 percent of the total the government received in income taxes came from those in the top 1 percent for income. The top 5 percent paid 58.66 percent of the total, according to the National Taxpayers Union.

Income tax filers in the lowest 50 percent of income levels paid just 2.25 percent of the total received by the Internal Revenue Service.

Bear in mind, these numbers are for people who paid income taxes. Between 44-47 percent of Americans don't pay any income taxes.

Looks to me as if the well-to-do may be paying their fair share - or perhaps a tad more - already.

-- What happens when the government increases income tax rates for the well-to-do?

Washington gets more money to spend, of course. But what else happens?

Here's the thing about the really wealthy: They're going to drive their Mercedes, take long vacations in Europe and eat at expensive restaurants no matter what their tax rates are.

When forced by higher taxes to cut spending, they reduce the amount they put into investments. Those investments create jobs - or, if they aren't made, don't create jobs.

-- Well, we need to jack up taxes on the wealthy in order to pay down the national debt, insist Obama and his fellow liberals.

Our government spends about $1 trillion a year more than it receives in revenue. The national debt is more than $16 trillion.

Take $1 billion from each of the billionaires in the U.S. and you'd cover less than half the annual deficit. You'd also send them all to new homes overseas, where they'd pay no U.S. taxes.

-- Twelve years ago, just as George W. Bush was beginning his two terms as president, the U.S. government was spending about $2 trillion a year.

Now, after eight years in which Bush did nothing to slow down spending and Obama has done everything in his power to speed it up, the government spends about $3.8 trillion a year.

That's nearly twice the spending in just 12 years. Has your household budget increased by that much during that period?

So yes, perhaps it is time to crack down on the "fat cats."

Perhaps we ought to start with the fattest of them all - Uncle Sam.

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