Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Rich Pay More Taxes

The rich are different from you and me. They pay more taxes. Well, of course they do. They make more money.

Yes, but they also pay more in taxes as a percent of income than ordinary middle-class Americans. That's what the Congressional Budget Office reports and Powerline summarizes.

Is that really what Americans want? Do we want to force high-income Americans (not necessarily high net-worth) to pay significantly more of their income to support big government? Especially since high-income Americans are typically the ones creating jobs.

And by big government we mean the commanding heights of government spending: government pensions, government health care, government education, and government welfare. Oh, and national defense.

The assumption of liberals and their once-in-a-generation progressive "seize-and-hold" strategy is that Americans want more public services paid for out of taxes and that the rich should pay more, a lot more. Once liberals seize the progressive moment they can ratchet in another entitlement that can never be taken away.

Until the ratchet breaks.

In his latest op-ed article Michael Barone wonders if the ratchet still applies. The progressive ratchet only applies in a nation where most people don't own property. Property owners don't like redistribution. They fear that it will hit them.

Back in the days of the New Deal, most American rented their homes. So it made sense that they would vote for redistribution. Not today.

But we still live in an America like the America of the Founders, and unlike the America of the Progressives and the New Dealers, in which a majority of citizens are or have every prospect of becoming property owners. And a nation of property owners is less willing to plunder the property of others in search of some promised gain than a nation where most people don't and will never own significant property.

And that goes back to Irving Kristol's law. If you want to help the poor you must deal in the middle class.

Health care to help the working poor won't help the middle class. It already has health insurance. Cap and trade won't help the middle class. It will hit them in the pocket book when they pay the utility bill and fill up their SUVs.

If Barone is right then the voters will be acting like property owners this Fall and not like benefit recipients. I'm shooting for a 80 seat Republican gain in the House of Representatives. Because that would be one more than the 79 gain in the 1938 off-year elections.

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