Even Rosetta Stone, the language-learning software that promises individuals they'll soon "dream in French," would be hard-pressed to translate the language of Washington. The etymology surrounding the tax debate would stymie someone with a Ph.D. in linguistics.
Just following the numbers, not to mention the assertions, is enough to produce blank stares of incomprehension. There is a debate about whether the estate tax should jump from zero to 35 percent, or 55 percent. Some liberal congressional Democrats claim they won't consider voting for the "compromise" unless it is 55 percent. As The Wall Street Journal noted last weekend, the estate tax was 55 percent in 2001, with a $675,000 exemption. In 2009, the top rate was 45 percent with a $3.5 million exemption. This year it has been zero percent with no exemption.
Republicans and Democrats have attached new spending for pork projects in the tax rate compromise bill. Pork IS the universal language of Congress.
This is fiscal irresponsibility. The reason America has a debt approaching $14 trillion is that government will not live within the means provided to it by people who earn the money.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) exposed the motives of liberals about progressive taxation. During a mini-filibuster against the deal struck by President Obama and the congressional Republican leadership, Sanders said it is "greedy" to oppose a hike in the tax rates. "Greed is like an addiction," he said, comparing it to heroin and nicotine. Sanders wondered how anyone could be proud to call himself a "multimillionaire?" One might ask how any U.S. senator could be proud to call himself a socialist? Besides, what business is it of government how much anyone legally earns?
According to Sanders' reasoning, if people resist turning over increasing amounts of their paychecks to government, they are greedy. The left is obsessed with punishing the successful, but even if billionaires and multi-millionaires were taxed at a 100 percent rate, it wouldn't get close to eliminating the debt. Cutting spending would.
What word might best characterize a government that so misspends our money? Unconstitutional? Irresponsible? Outrageous?
The class warfare game played by the Left leads nowhere. It is foreign to the Constitution and to our history. Every poor person would like the opportunity to become rich, or at least better off. Liberty and opportunity, not government, offer that chance if right choices are made and one develops a moral center.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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