The Politico: The Rich Defending Not Being Taxed Out The Ying Yang Is “Whiny” And “Upsetting”

Personally, I’ll never understand the liberal doctrine to punish people for doing well, instead of applauding them and incentivizing them to pump that money back into the private sector, creating jobs and wealth down the food chain. Alas, it is not to be

President Barack Obama plans to raise taxes on “the rich,” and he defines rich as those making more than $250,000 a year. Two professors at prestigious universities have started brush fires on the Web during the past couple of weeks by taking issue and offering themselves as examples. One says raising taxes on incomes over $250,000 is unfair. The other says it’s inefficient and will discourage work. Fairness and efficiency are the two measures of any tax policy, so that about covers it. Fairness is subjective, but efficiency has a precise definition: A tax should change people’s incentives as little as possible (unless it changes them on purpose in a positive way – like New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s idea of taxing junk food).

Unfortunately, fairness is defined differently by liberals. It means taking one persons money and giving it to the government so they can spend it unwisely.

Professor No. 1 teaches law at The University of Chicago. He got up on the wrong side of the bed one day and banged out a short, self-righteous screed. He wrote that although he makes more than the magic $250,000, he nonetheless objects to being called rich and being asked to fork out more money for taxes. He says that higher taxes will require real sacrifices – and not just from him. He may have to sell his house and cars. Or he may fire the hardworking Mexican legal immigrant who mows his lawn.

Actually, the screed was rather whiny, and a poor way to defend not jacking taxes on “the rich.” Even the Wall Street Journal takes the writer, Joe Henderson, to task, and offers some advice. Yet, he makes a good point: why should his family be forced to pay more simply for doing well? I still don’t have much sympathy for him, though, since, like the good liberal Henderson is, he thinks those making millions should be taxed hard. In Liberal World, it’s always about someone else’s money. Anyhow, let’s move on from Joe

Professor No. 2 is Harvard economist Greg Mankiw, who was President George W. Bush’s chief economic adviser. Mankiw wrote an upsetting column in The New York Times a couple of weeks ago, saying that if Obama gets his way on taxes, he (Mankiw) would face a marginal tax rate (the tax on his next dollar of earnings) of 90 percent. Ninety percent! Mankiw did not whine about unfairness. His point was entirely about the effect this would have on his work incentive. (While the whiny law professor is selling his car to raise money for taxes, Mankiw will be turning down paid lecture opportunities because taxes make them not worth it to him.)

Apparently, it is upsetting to offer actual facts about what high taxation can do to the economy. And because Mankiw is an “intellectually honest conservative.”

Of course, when the government is spending $1.3 trillion more than it brings in and borrowing more than a third of what it spends, the details of the tax law almost don’t matter. You’ve got to start making some assumptions about who will ultimately bear the burden of this year’s spending and the effect this will have on that person’s work incentive. (Even deficit doves like Berkeley professor Brad DeLong are quoting Milton Friedman’s famous truism: “To spend is to tax,” meaning that today’s spending commits you to pay for it, however much you initially put off.) If people making more than $250,000 a year can’t be asked to dig a little deeper, who can?

I have a good idea for who can dig a little deeper: the government. They can stop spending so darned much, pare back, live within their means. Raising taxes is like taking away your kids’ allowance so daddy can buy that new 50 inch 3D flat screen with only one pair of 3D glasses, and a 3d Blu-Ray player. Only dad gets to watch.

Why should any group be penalized because the government is irresponsible with the People’s money? If someone is living well above their means, purchasing a car and home they can’t afford, maxing out their credit cards, do we feel sorry for them? Does the bank say “oh, that’s OK, little buddy, here’s a new line of credit”? Or do we tell the person to sell the house, sell the car, and live within their salary?

If someone is making above that magical $250,000 line, exactly what is it to you, Liberals? What business is it of yours? We all know the answer, of course. It is that the Left always has to have someone to demonize. Liberal World is negative, and someone must always be penalized. What they always fail to grasp is that if you abuse your players for winning the championship game, you won’t get the same effort and results next time. And then climate change destroys the field.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach. Re-Change 2010!

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