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As Long as We Remember...

July 1, 2011

Celebrate Diversity! Divide America!

Joe Charlebois

To the political left in this country we aren’t Americans. We are niche groups that need to be labeled. We must fit into one of a number of tidy little boxes. This week we were all divided into the “haves” and “have-not.”


The president’s current attempt at using the tired rhetoric of class warfare falls flat. The attempt to demonize the wealthy and create envy from the middle class is disingenuous and runs contrary to the ideals of the American Dream. What native-born American or legal immigrant comes to the United States with the idea of aspiring to become mediocre?


The American Dream is to be successful in an uninhibited pursuit of one’s goals. This is the country where the social ladder doesn’t have missing rungs. Anyone, through their own industry, can achieve success.  Success may be defined differently for each individual; but whether it is a monetary goal or one of happiness, it is not a dream of being average.


The president in Wednesday’s press conference continually hammered home the point that the millionaires and billionaires aren’t paying their fair share of taxes. He portrayed the “have’s” as evil and the ‘have not’s” as morally unimpeachable.


This is troubling. In essence the president’s definition of those who have succeeded in America – those who have attained the dream – is the embodiment of corruption. Those who haven’t reached that same financial level of success, of course, are the losers in the game of life – and, in some part, haven’t reached the American Dream in part due to successes of others.


I’m sure there are a great number of wealthy Americans who use tax code loopholes to hide a majority of their taxable income just as I’m sure there are those who pay more than their fair share.


The progressive tax system as it exists today – that is as one climbs the income ladder, one pays a higher rate in income tax – unfairly places the burden on a shrinking minority of taxpayers. It allows 47% of all eligible taxpayers to escape paying any federal income tax.


According to IRS statistics an ever growing number of United States citizens are falling off the list of income taxpayers as a shrinking minority of Americans are forced to carry a majority of the burden. In fact the IRS information for the latest tax year available (2008) shows that the top 1% of taxpayers paid 38% of all income tax reported. The top 5% paid 58.7% of all income tax reported.


If paying nearly two-thirds of federal income taxes isn’t enough for the top 5%, what is?


On Wednesday the president chided “corporate jet Americans” for shirking their duty as tax-paying Americans. This is the same president who in his stimulus package granted tax breaks to corporations by allowing accelerated depreciation on the purchase of corporate jets. After morphing into his “Mr. Hyde” persona, the president decried his very own stimulus policy as a special break for the fortunate.


Barack Obama must know that people with substantial earning power can have a major impact on the economic health of America. They purchase new homes which benefit the construction industry and all the spinoff industries that support construction. The president must know that those same people, through their purchase of automobiles, boats, airplanes and RV’s, help maintain a manufacturing base that in the United States employs hard working middle class Americans by the thousands. Without these industries thousands of American workers would be sent to the unemployment lines.


History shows that previous attempts at the soaking the “wealthy,” including a luxury tax on yachts passed in 1990, have failed. It was a terrible and misguided attempt to increase revenue by targeting niche tax groups. It didn’t raise the revenues that were expected and the only true effect of these taxes was to harm or destroy companies that produce such items.


In fact according to, “within a year, sales plunged 70 percent, and many firms had to lay off workers and even declare bankruptcy. Large numbers of workers lost their jobs. In Florida, 13,000 yacht workers were unemployed, and related industries were also affected… the largest shortfall was in the tax revenue. After the luxury tax introduction, the 5-year tax revenue was estimated to be $9 billion. However, in its first year, the tax revenue was only a few tenths of a million dollars. In addition, the government also had to pay unemployment benefits.”


Demonizing those who have attained wealth and looking to create envy may indeed whip up support for the Democratic Party base, but it does little to bring manufacturing jobs to the middle class of America.


Eradication of the current tax code and implementation of a flat tax – where everyone has a share of government responsibility – would do more for economic and social mobility than any other “stimulus.”


It won’t happen in this administration as the left looks to continue to develop a caste system that they will consistently rely upon for votes and power. It won’t happen as long as the mentality of payoffs to powerful constituencies through loopholes exists. It eventually needs to happen to prevent the eventual non-tax paying majority requiring the minority to pay for even greater government’s excesses.


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