Thursday, April 12, 2012

Cruising the Web

Daniel Henninger puts his finger on what the real debate is about between the right and the left through his highlighting of an interview that Paul Ryan has given. The question is what is the role of the state and what is the best way to allow people to help themselves and their communities.
Paul Ryan insists the debate isn't over and that its locus is the federal budget, which isn't just numbers. The budget is the national government's formal justification for the scale of the demands it makes now and unto eternity on the nation's citizens.

This is the debate Barack Obama hopes mockery and rhetorical carpet-bombing can kill before the fall campaign. It's only a guess, but I'm betting his opponent is looking forward to forcing the president to come up with a better argument for establishing a government in the U.S. that is subordinate to no one.

Does Obama have anything in his arsenal other than mischaracterizations and lies about Republicans? I guess not. Perhaps it is because Obama doesn't really understand the issues facing the country or at least has no idea how to address those problems.
What he doesn't understand is that under our tax system the earnings from capital investment are taxed not once, but multiple times. First, by the corporate income tax, then again by the individual income tax through the tax on dividends, then if you sell the capital investment, through the capital gains tax, then when you die, by the death tax. When he complains that the rich are not paying their fair share, he is just looking at the rate on any one of these taxes, and not considering all of the others. So he wants to raise them all to what he considers the tax rate paid by the middle class.

As a result, he would double the top capital gains tax rate, double the dividend tax rate, increase the top two income tax rates by nearly 20 percent, and increase the death tax rate by 60 percent, while the corporate tax rate remains the highest in the industrialized world.

His tax increases would apply to the top 3 percent of taxpayers, singles making over $200,000 a year, and couples making over $250,000. He says the increases are needed for the rich to pay their "fair share." But as the Wall Street Journal noted on Feb. 14, those top 3 percent already pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 97 percent combined!
And what does he think that people will do in response to his proposed tax increases? Surely nothing that will lead to more jobs for anyone else. History shows that the result will be just the opposite. And the government won't even get the revenue from those tax increases that Obama projects in order to fund his increased spending.

Businesses should learn the lesson that the health insurance industry is now learning about what happens when they make Faustian bargains with government.

When the numbers are run, enacting the Buffett rule would affect only a very few number of households. Most rich people get their money from income, not investments. Of course, the idea isn't to raise more money, but to have a cudgel with which to beat up Republicans, especially Mitt Romney.

It's amazing how fast a lie can race through Twitter to appear in supposedly careful and legitimate media sources. Nikki Haley was the victim this time.

I thought that Democrats were all about women's choices. But not, apparently, when women choose to stay home and raise their children. Especially if those women are married to Republican politicians. Now a Democratic operative has attacked Ann Romney as not knowing anything about women struggling to support their families. She responded through Twitter. Bring it on!

Even Dana Milbank is contemptuous of the gimmickry
of the Buffett Rule from a president who has done nothing to push for true tax reform.
A search of the White House Web site yields 17,400 mentions of the Buffett Rule — a proposal that would bring in $47 billion over 10 years, much of that from 22,000 wealthy households. By contrast, the alternative minimum tax gets fewer than 600 mentions on the site. The AMT, if not changed, will take about $1 trillion over a decade from millions of taxpayers, many of whom earn less than $200,000 a year.

Josh Kraushaar argues that Obama's message won't appeal to those in the center and those are the voters he needs. Kraushaar analyzes the answers from a Democratic poll of independents in battleground states.
The polling found that a message centered on income inequality was a flop with these swing voters, who said they were much more anxious about rising debt and with regulations and taxes on businesses. A clear 57 percent majority said they thought the American economic system was “basically fair” and that the deck is not stacked against them. They didn’t primarily blame Wall Street or the wealthy for the country’s economic problems; they instead fingered congressional gridlock. More than half (51 percent) of respondents said they preferred a candidate who advocates for an economy based on opportunity where “government lives within its means and economic growth is our top priority” while just 43 percent preferred a candidate backing “an economy based on fairness – where the rich pay their fair share, corporations play by the rules, and all Americans get a fair shot.”
But Obama prefers the us against them rhetoric.