Making America Safer for Rich People
The notion that rich people don't pay their taxes is pretty cemented in the conventional wisdom. The mistake that this President is making is that there's nothing he can do about it. In fact, he's using this "inevitable fact" as a recurring motif in his stump speech: the rich don't pay taxes, so it's meaningless to tax them. By trying to extend the talking point, the President is actually using criminal activity (tax evasion) as support for his own policies. Here's one example of this, at a rally last week in Annandale, Virginia:
That's why you've got to be careful about this rhetoric, we're only going to tax the rich. You know who the -- the rich in America happen to be the small business owners. That's what that means. Just remember, when you're talking about, oh, we're just going to run up the taxes on a certain number of people -- first of all, real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes. (Laughter.) And the small business owners end up paying a lot of the burden of this taxation.
The President did it again yesterday in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania:
Be careful of these folks who travel around the country making all these big promises, and say, oh, don't worry, we'll pay for it by taxing the rich. You know how that goes. The rich hires accountants and lawyers and you get stuck with the bill. But we're not going to let him raise your taxes. For the sake of economic growth, for the sake of job creation, we will keep America's taxes low.
Can you fathom a sitting President saying "You can't tax the rich, because the rich don't pay their taxes," as if he's helpless to do anything about it? By the way, if you define "the rich" as people in the top 1% of the country, the President and most of his cabinet are among them. Does that mean THEY aren't paying their taxes? And by the way, this is a classic example of mission creep into that "national sales tax" territory, which the President lauded as "an interesting idea" last week (until the criticism became so loud that he ran for cover). The argument will go like this: "If the rich don't pay their taxes, we might as well enact a sales tax and abolish the income tax, because at least that way we'll get SOME revenue." The national sales tax is a dumb idea that will disproportionately affect poor Americans who will have to pay through the nose for necessities, probably cutting consumption (the only thing keeping this economy afloat), as well as eliminate tax credits for home ownership, childcare and education.
For some reason, this is not getting a lot of media attention. IMO, he's getting away with it because nobody in the Kerry camp has picked up on it. This is such an easy one to knock out of the park, I can't believe they're not doing it. I can hear it now:
"There's a way to get rich people to pay their fair share: you close the loopholes, and you seek IRS enforcement, unlike this President, who has only sought out more audits of middle-class and poor Americans. In my administration, rich people won't be able to dodge taxes."
Can somebody get Gene Sperling on the phone? This one's so damn easy...