The Bad Guys
Ponder a simple fact: The Obama administration is dispersing income lavishly to those who do not pay taxes and it will have to be paid for by those who do. For all the talk of that awful percentile who make over $200,000, this administration has not distinguished the hyper-rich 1% that make untold money (e.g., the Buffets, Soroses, Turners, Gateses, Kerrys, Gores, etc), from the much more demonized, larger 5% of the population whose income does not come from investments and insider influence and deal-making, but rather from providing more tangible goods and services — the family doctor, the plumbing contractor, the small lumber company owner, the car dealer, the local family-held insurance company, the airline pilot, the car-leasing firm, the patent attorney, etc.
“Their Fair Share”
Last fall we heard that this percentile was unpatriotic, did not wish to spread the wealth around, and had made off like bandits under Bush. But the fact is, to quote Mayor Gavin Newsome’s “like it or not,” they are precisely those who decide most dynamically whether to hire, fire, expand, contract, buy/sell goods, etc.
And the results of the Obama war against them are threefold: 1) in major key states, the productive minority’s state income taxes will near or exceed 10%; their federal rates will go to 40%; the abolition of caps on FICA will ensure 15% plus of most of their income will go for new Medicare and Social Security bites; and they may well be eligible for a newly proposed punitive health-care surcharge tax of 4-6%.
Add It Up
If one were to add all that up (forget rises in sales taxes, inheritance taxes, luxury taxes, etc.), then one can get to 70% of one’s income. So right this minute, the electrical contractor is thinking:
“I made $412,000 last year due to Saturday jobs, overtime, risky bidding, gambles on new equipment, and new lines of credit, but under Obama I will pay maybe $50-80,000 more of my income to the government. In other words the cost of, say, hiring two more entry-level electricians, or the cost of outfitting an entire new van with boom and equipment, or what I cleared every Saturday last year — all that will go to the government.”
Ripples of Doubt
And that means rippling throughout this key sector of the economy — even before these taxes have been enacted — are hesitation, stasis, and ultimately constriction — at first for psychological reasons, soon confirmed by the actual facts of less money. In short, very bright people will be thinking how to hide income, how to barter, how to slow down and not produce goods and services, rather than blast full speed ahead and enrich angry others.
A Certain Paranoia
2) Do not discount again the psychological element. This putative electrical contractor also knows that after handing over his profits to the new government, and delaying or ending his plans for enlargement, he will not be praised, but continually demonized (I scanned CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and NBC the other evening, and all the stories had a common theme: the “rich” (yes, you see, ACME Electric is now about the equivalent to AIG and Citibank) will have to pay their “fair share” for all sorts of “overdue” necessities: cap-and-trade, nationalized health care, education grants and freebies, and new social programs.
You Owe Us
So our electrician senses that despite his newfound, sizable contribution to the public good, he will a) not be thanked but only further ridiculed; b) see his money diverted from his own wise use of it, to anonymous agencies’ liberal expenditures of it: the money will not be just lost, but invested in things that will make things worse, not better, through subsidies of failed programs and the destruction of incentives; c) see that the world under Obama is now unfair in Orwellian fashion: the Citibanks and AIGs, in Robert Rubin fashion, are so well connected to both parties that they will suffer little for their mistakes; the Ivy-League and Washington technocratic class that is to run all this is happy with its government perks and does not think new taxes and compliance apply to themselves (cf. Dodd, Rangel, Geithner, Daschle, Murtha, etc.).
You Never Needed All That Anyway
3) Finally the now chastised and ossified electrician will begin to see that his new truck, his boat, his vacation home, all these are somehow immoral in carbon, political, cultural, racial, and social terms. And he senses that others, who do not pay any income taxes (approaching 50% of the population), see themselves at war with him: the more he pays in taxes, the more others see that his compliance with such new burdens is proof of what he “really” owed all the time, and a sign that he can pay even more next round.
That is the model here in California and that is the model we are soon to see in Washington: the government worker and those who receive his largess, are kings; those who pay for them, and who work in private enterprise for far less, are, well, less than fools.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
And If The Peasants Decide To Burn Their Own Crops, What Then, Comrade?