Roger’s Rules

Obama may deserve a tax increase, but do you?

Barack Hussein Obama thinks he deserves a tax increase. That’s OK with me. In fact, I rather like the idea of a tax increase for him. But why should the rest of us have to feel his pain? Quoth the Senator:

“I think the best way to approach this is to adjust the cap on the payroll tax so that people like myself are paying a little bit more and people who are in need are protected.”

Notice the weasel word “adjust.” What Barack Hussein Obama means is “raise.” You can be quite sure that by “adjust” he doesn’t wish to lower the cap on payroll taxes. No, he wants to take more of your money. But even in the process of proposing to increase taxes on hundreds of thousands of middle-class families, he injects a rhetorical lubricant to ease the shock. If there were a little truth bubble floating above these “we-want-more-of-your-money” politicians, it would read something like this: “Yes, we’re planning to lift unspecified thousands of dollars out of your pocket and spend it as if it were our money, but we are going to justify that bit of statist expropriation by ‘adjusting’ upward the volume on the knob marked ‘liberal guilt.'”

It’s quite a spectacle. The U.S. economy has been humming along nicely, thanks partly–maybe largely–to the tax cuts President Bush pushed through a few years ago. Now that there is building pressure on the economy from the weak dollar and the subprime scandal and some pundits are mouthing the “R” word, we have a crop of Presidential hopefuls proposing policies that would further curtail liquidity, place ever more initiative in the hands of the state (i.e., that apparatus they themselves hope to run), and generally foster the gloominess that helps to precipitate the recession they keep warning about. “The power to tax,” observed John Marshall, “is the power to destroy.” That was in 1819. Why haven’t we learned that lesson yet?

It used to be said that experience was the great teacher. But the stampede to raise taxes, and thereby choke the economy (incidentally hurting the people one pretends to be helping), shows that (as T.S. Eliot said in another context) when it comes to fiscal realities, “We had the experience but missed the meaning.”