Ed Driscoll

Let Obama be Obama

Lloyd Bentsen: Mike! Now that it’s all over, you can tell me. You were gonna raise taxes, weren’t you?

Michael Dukakis: Well, you bet I was! Through the roof! But now.. I won’t get the chance.

— From Saturday Night Live’s legendary “Dukakis After Dark” sketch, November 5th, 1988.

As several others have already noted, Susan Estrich, former campaign manager for Dukakis in ’88, is having newfound second thoughts about his successor’s plan to soak the rich everyone:

Within days of winning the election, President Obama announced that his victory gave him a mandate to raise taxes on the “rich.”

Come again? This was a two-and-a-half-point election. It reflected a painfully divided electorate. The only mandate I saw was to unite a divided country.

Silly Susan. She of all people should know that the MSM grants every Democrat president a mandate to do whatever harebrained schemes he’s dreamed upon winning — even when he doesn’t receive an absolute majority of the vote.

Which is but one reason why Moe Lane of Red State writes,”While I think that it’s adorable that Susan Estrich thinks that Barack Obama cares about why anybody did or did not vote for him, it’s also pretty much irrelevant:”

What’s got her guts in an uproar is apparently rumors that the President wants to cap charitable deductions and lower the mortgage interest deduction… coupled with the sudden and unwelcome realization that Republicans are maybe going to smile nastily and let Obama do just that…

What’s that? Why is that a possibility? Oh, well, the reason why is because a hard cap on charitable deductions will bite deep into the willingness of rich liberals to fund nonprofits, including ones that are frankly front groups for Leftist advocacy organizations; and lowering the mortgage interest deduction will have the same effect on Blue State residents as would, say, a sledgehammer between the eyes would to a cow. Shared sacrifice, baby.

Which brings us to Victor Davis Hanson’s recent column at NRO,  and this modest proposal: “Why doesn’t the Republican-controlled House of Representatives give both voters and President Obama what they wished for?”

The current battle over the budget hinges on whether to return to the Clinton-era income-tax rates, at least for those who make more than $250,000 a year. Allowing federal income rates to climb to near 40 percent on that cohort would bring in only about $80 billion in revenue a year — a drop in the bucket when set against the $1.3 trillion annual deficit that grew almost entirely from out-of-control spending since 2009.

Instead, why not agree to hike federal-income-tax rates only on the true “millionaires and billionaires,” “fat cats,” and “corporate jet owners” whom Obama has so constantly demonized? In other words, skip over the tire-store owner or dentist, and tax those, for example, who make $1 million or more in annual income. Eight out of the ten wealthiest counties in the United States voted for Obama. Corporate lawyers and the affluent in Hollywood and on Wall Street should all not mind “paying their fair share.”

Upping federal tax rates to well over 40 percent on incomes of more than $1 million a year would also offer a compromise: shielding most of the small businesspeople Republicans wish to protect while allowing Obama to tax the 1-percenters whom he believes have so far escaped paying what they owe, and then putting responsibility on the president to keep his part of the bargain in making needed cuts in spending.

Likewise, instead of hiking death taxes on small businesspeople, why not close loopholes for billion-dollar estates by taxing their gargantuan bequests to pet foundations that avoid estate taxes? Why should a Warren Buffett or Bill Gates act as if he built his own business and can solely determine how his fat-cat fortune is spent for the next century — meanwhile robbing the government of billions of dollars in lost estate taxes along with any federal say in how such fortunes are put to public use?

Oh, and repeal the Hollywood tax cuts of course — and for the sake of Gaia, draft legislation to ban whatever the most popular form of lighting is used to illuminate film and TV sets.

During the NR cruise, Jonah Goldberg quoted Ed Koch’s infamous crack upon losing reelection — during the same era that Estrich’s feckless boss lost his own bid for higher office. When asked if he would ever run again as mayor of New York, Koch replied, “No. The people have spoken  — and now they must be punished.”

Good and hard, as Mencken said 75 years ago.