If rightbloggers believe in anything, it’s that taxes are bad — especially if they’re on people making over a million dollars.
When it was revealed that President Obama would propose a tax on millionaires, the brethren loyally manned the barricades to defend America’s rich — e.g., Donald Trump, Kate Gosselin, Mitt Romney, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Charlie Sheen — against peons like you.
Before we go further, we will remind our readers that once upon a time — after the Second World War –the top marginal tax rate in America was 91 percent. Let us repeat: 91 percent. And back then the nation was doing great — cheap gas, widespread home-ownership, and so on.
But since then tax rates have plummeted steeply, especially for rich people; and with the Bush tax cuts, rich-people taxes are down to donations-appreciated, basically.
Nonetheless rightbloggers, who either have no sense of history or hope their readers don’t, acted like the proposed raise on rich folks’ taxes is unprecedented, grossly unfair, and even an act of violence.
Some sources like Business Insider cleverly just announced that Obama was raising taxes (“Obama Proposes $600 Billion In Tax Hikes”), and left readers to imagine that they were the ones getting dunned. But those who engaged the issue fiercely opposed any increased taxation of millionaires.
Adding imagined insult to perceived injury, it was said that Obama’s plan would contain something called a “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire financier Warren Buffett, who has long maintained that America’s rich are undertaxed.
“Never mind that [Buffett]’s free to pay all the taxes he wants,” cried The Lonely Conservative. Instapundit’s Glenn Reynolds proposed an attack on Buffett: “I invite any tax experts out there to propose specific changes — besides the obvious, an excise tax on fractional jet businesses — that would hit Warren Buffett personally.” Angry White Dude co-snarled: “I say tax that sumbitch Warren Buffett into welfare!”
That’ll change his mind! Buffett probably never imagined such a tax would apply to him. (Doug Powers at the Michelle Malkin website also seemed to think Buffett had missed this possibility: “At least the ‘Patriotic Millionaires’ might be about to get what they asked for, so there’s that little bit of economic schadenfreude.” Imagine how different things would be if billionaires had tax accountants!)
“And, you wonder why they’re called tax and spend liberals?” roared Gateway Pundit Jim Hoft. Later, Hoft learned that some people had gathered in protest at Wall Street, and blamed that on Obama’s yet-to-be-announced plan: “Radical Leftists and Marxists Answer Obama’s Call For Class War – Converge on Wall Street.” Hoft showed pictures from the demo he’d found at Flickr; one such pic featured a flyer with a picture of Che Guevara, which Hoft captioned, “The leftists adore Marxist Che Guevara and hate capitalism.” Another showed a sign that said “Tax the Wealthy!” and this, Hoft said, proved that the protesters “like [Obama’s] ‘tax the rich’ plan.” (Actual lefties, it has been shown, would actually prefer something more radical.)
Don Surber shifted attention from the tax plan to the Solyndra investigation, whereby a green energy company head who donated to Democrats is suspected of profiting from a government deal — something that will strike anyone who has been following politics since, oh, the 16th Century as unremarkable. But Surber thought it “puts the robbing of the rich in proper perspective.” What that perspective might be, in this case, Surber didn’t clearly state — though his claim that the Obama Administration is “pure as sewer sludge” and engaged in “crony capitalism” suggests that Surber thinks only the pure at heart may raise taxes on millionaires, in which case we must wait for Rick Perry to pull the sword out of the stone and do it.
“One thing we can be absolutely sure of: Obama’s tax increases will not target the plutocrats like Warren [Buffett],” claimed Lew Rockwell, “but new and rising entrepreneurs and the self-employed, whom they both hate.” Apparently Rockwell had seen details of the plan to which the rest of us are not privy, but he regrettably failed to share them with his readers.
Rockwell did call the proposed increase “oligarchical.” An oligarchy is a government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families, but Rockwell didn’t think this applied so much to ginormously wealthy corporations as to unnamed “rich bureaucrats” who will in some unspecified way not only evade the tax, but benefit from “rips-off of the productive,” and who along with their “rich friends” will “get even richer through the gun.”
Rhymes With Right also feared Obama’s planned gun violence against millionaires, and seemed to think the New York Times had conspired to cover it up with its headline, “Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires.” “The Obama plan, if adopted, will not ‘ask’ anything of millionaires,” countered RWR. “It will instead DEMAND more of folks, AT THE POINT OF A GUN under threat of arrest and imprisonment. Remember, it isn’t a request if failure to comply will result in criminal charges and jack-booted thugs seizing your assets.”
“‘Ask’? Can they really refuse?” said Tom Maguire of Just One Minute. “But no; the text indicates that the same coercive approach we have seen for decades will be employed.” It’s the usual IRS reign of terror — but worse this time, because now it’s against our precious millionaires! Citizens, gather your armies — the guy in the mansion on the hill needs you!
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air said Obama “wants to seize more capital from the very people who we need to put capital into private-sector investments to create jobs.” This POV, known once upon a time as trickle-down economics, hasn’t been working so well in recent years — hiring is sluggish, though the stock market is doing wonderfully; in fact, one might be tempted to conclude that the millionaires Morrissey wants to protect haven’t been investing their cash in personnel anyway, and might as well contribute a wee bit more of their wealth toward keeping the legions of jobless from destitution.
As you may expect, this was not Morrissey’s conclusion: He found the prospect of a millionaire tax “a nakedly political act designed to bolster Obama’s class-warfare demagoguery and credentials, and it’s a policy that will inevitably lead to a deeper economic crisis in the US.”
World View Tonight agreed: “Part of the American dream has always been the notion that, if people work hard and are successful, they may be fortunate enough to become millionaires,” they said. Thus “President Obama is going against the American dream and undermining the small business person who wants to expand or grow their business.” We guess the only way WVT could be more enraged would be if Obama proposed a tax on lottery tickets. Think of the dreams of prospective wealth he’d be suppressing then!
If you mentioned that America once prospered without ultra-low taxes on the rich, it simply didn’t compute with rightbloggers. “Those that point out that Clinton raised taxes and the economy boomed,” said Right Condition, “are confusing causation and correlation.” This is an interesting point, and we waited breathlessly for RC to go on and make their case.
Alas, they went with the Homer Simpson argument. “In other words,” they said, “had Clinton not raised taxes perhaps there would be more jobs, but more importantly the mechanism that drives job creation in America is first and foremost the monetary policy and not taxes.” This last bit we believe is quoted from the Federalist Papers.
Other argued that it was futile to tax millionaires, because the millionaires would simply pass their tax burden onto the rest of us, as God and Adam Smith intended.
“People still seem to not realize that an end to tax breaks (read: tax hikes) on gas and oil companies and big corporations translates into nothing more than a tax hike on normal individuals,” said Erika Johnsen at Townhall. “Because companies make their money off of you, the willing consumer, and if the company’s costs go up, so will the price for the consumer.”
Johnsen did not consider that some millionaires — or even sub-millionaires — might, in such a situation, step in and charge less for goods and services in order to steal business from their greedier brethren. Presumably she thinks such a thing impossible, as millionaires are already stretched to the breaking point, so that any extra taxes would render them mere hundreds-of-thousandsaires, in which case it would hardly be worth it for them to get up in the morning, except to Go Galt.
Some thought the real problem was with the not-rich who, unlike the rich, weren’t paying enough taxes. “What about the 50% of Americans who pay No Taxes at All?” asked Twilight’s Last Gleaming, repeating a popular rightwing talking point.
We might repeat here the usual counter-arguments about excise taxes and the mind-blowing income inequality in America, but we doubt they would reach such as Macsmind, who wrote, “If it’s true that everyone pay his or her fair share, then let’s end the loopholes and exclusions that allow 45 million Americans to pay essentially no taxes at all… we need to erase the exclusions that allow these free loaders to feast off the success of others.”
Hear that, sub-millionaires? However hard you may think you’re working at that drill press or cubicle farm, you’re not contributing nearly as much as the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and other Wealth Producers. So quit asking Camille and Adrienne to bail you out!
Rightbloggers and their Real Housewife friends can relax — Republicans in Congress have dismissed Obama’s plan as “class warfare,” and there is no hope of them passing anything like the prospective tax.
As to political fallout, how can there be any? Americans love their wealthy superiors. True, in polls they say they want to tax rich people — even the lowly $250,000 earners — but this must be due to a misunderstanding. Once they’ve heard rightbloggers explain how lovably oppressed the rich are, surely they’ll come around — and if they don’t, too bad, because the rich are both their economic and moral superiors and will crush them like bugs if they don’t submit to their will.
Now, how could citizens of a Republic fail to respond to such an argument?