Friday, April 13, 2012

The Fallacy of Fairness as Fiscal Policy


I don't care what Warren Bufet's tax rate is. If he paid 1%, he'd probably stil pay 1000% percent more actual tax money than if I paid 100% of what I earn. Fairness is not a fiscal policy, because it is by definition a subjective concept. Yet Pres. Obama is camaigning for "the Buffet Rule," based on his idea of fairness.

"Fairness" is not a new theme for our President. I remember an interview from '09, where he was asked specificallly about getting less revenue by raising capital gains taxes, and he said he would sacrifice the tax revenue in the interest of fairness. I was dumbstruck. Maybe he didn't believe the premise of the question, or saw it as a political jab, so he used his fallback slogan: fairness.

When I was a liberal, I thought that more money was needed for the government to protect and serve the neediest amoung us. I was certain that raising taxes on everybody was fair. I was willing to give up another 1 or2% off of my pay, if if would expand the role of government in "helping" poor and needy people. In those days, I was making barely above minimum wage!

That's not what today's liberals think of as "fair," anymore. A good example of this is Pres. Obama's position on killing the "Bush tax cuts" (which he already renewed once, so they should be called the "Obama tax cuts"). The President set a line of $200K for singles, and $250K for couples as being "millionaires." People above that level will revert to the Clinton- era rates, while people below that line will retain the lower "Bush" rates that Obama ratified.

At the time this was first being debated under Pres. Obama, the CBO estimated the 10-year revenue from the "millionaire" part would be 700 billion, and undoing the Bush tax cuts for everyone else would bring in over 3 trillion during that same 10 years. Pres. Obama likes to talk about how good things were under the Clinton tax rates? Apparently, not good enough to get Democratic majorities in either house of congress to reinstate them.

Two years later, our president is still trying to divide American taxpayers along financial lines. He obviously thinks that "raising taxes on the rich" is a "no brainer" attack against Mitt Romney, and the GOP in general, with so many people struggling. The use of the word "fairness" by our president is getting old, though. People are realizing that the president has no control over fairness in their lives, regardless how much tax the rich pay.

Politics dictate that campaigns use poll-tested language to sell their policies, and "fairness" polls well. The policy it is being used in support of, though, is the classic "tax and spend" liberal progressive agenda: increase taxes, spending, and entitlements. Whether taxes are raised on the rich, or all of us, it won't help me, or the economy much. All it will do is feed the ravenous maw of government spending. That is the ugly truth that the president is hiding beneath his calls for fairness.