Buoyed by poll data claiming that Americans finally embrace “taxing the rich” in order to reduce the skyrocketing national debt and deficit, the President spent last week’s bus tour calling for “shared sacrifice” and for the “wealthy” to “pay their fair share.” With the President’s own policies having exacerbated and prolonged the economic pain, Democrats from President Obama on down are once again refusing to let the crisis go to waste; they’re seeking to use the downturn as an opportunity to inculcate in struggling Americans a sense of class grievance.
After all, it’s long been source of frustration among the left that, in America, most citizens don’t resent the rich – rather, they seek to join their ranks. Instead of accepting this phenomenon as another example of American exceptionalism (and an important factor in our nation’s historic economic strength), it’s become an article of faith among the leftist elite that “ordinary” Americans simply don’t understand their own economic (or “class”) interests.
Indeed, Barack Obama’s most famous remark of the 2008 campaign claimed that working people’s misdirected “frustrations” at their economic plight explained their alleged “cling[ing] to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” (after two-and-a-half years of Obamanomics, perhaps we’re all becoming “bitter clingers” now). Similarly, an entire book, Thomas Franks’ What’s the Matter with Kansas, essentially argued that “working people” are bamboozled by conservatives’ sly deployment of social issues into voting against what Franks (and other liberals) deem to be their best interests.
So it’s hardly surprising that, bereft of fresh ideas to revive the ailing economy, President Obama and his fellow Democrats have fallen back on their favorite ideological prescription for America: Raising taxes on “the rich.” The only problem? Their “solution” is at once incoherent, ineffective at addressing the problem it’s supposed to solve and, ultimately counterproductive.