Debra J. Saunders

Twenty-five years after 1984, Doublespeak lives. Last week, President Obama released "A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America's Promise" -- a 10-year, $3.55 trillion spending plan that represented anything but fiscal maturity. The plan lamented the World Before Obama as "an era of profound irresponsibility" -- with deficit spending and unfunded tax cuts. Then it offered more deficit spending and unfunded tax cuts.

Oh yes, and after years of Democrats trashing President George W. Bush for cutting taxes while America is at war, the New Responsibility Democrat wants his proposed tax cut for 95 percent of working families -- while America is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan -- to be permanent.

It's not that cutting taxes in itself is bad, but it is hardly responsible to tell Americans that they can benefit from more than $1 trillion in new government spending (when you add his stimulus and recent budgets) -- and the best part is, only other people will pay for it.

Last year, Tax Foundation President Scott A. Hodge estimated that under current law, 47 million federal tax filers -- or 33 percent of filing households -- would owe zero on their federal income taxes in 2009. Under Plan Obama, he calculated, 63 million filers -- or 44 percent -- would pay zero in federal income taxes -- although, they would contribute to Social Security and may pay sales tax. (Republican John McCain's plan was not substantially different: Hodge estimated that under Plan McCain, 43 percent of filers would pay no income tax.)

The 44 percent estimate did not include the 15 million individuals and families that simply did not file taxes in 2006. Add them with the zero-income tax filers and the ratio of American households paying no federal income taxes is about half.

Without taking a position, the Tax Foundation's Matt Moon noted that there are people who wonder if it is a problem in a democracy to have "a swath (of voters) that demands more services and a swath that pays for it."

Count me among that group. But in Obamaland, all bounty is free. Take the 10-year, $630 billion Obama health plan -- which aims at universal access to health care for all Americans -- with, again, only the rich explicitly paying. Obama plans to fund half his package with "savings" (read: spending cuts), which magically only promote efficiency or improve the quality of care. Then Obama funds the other half by capping itemized tax deductions for families earning more than $250,000 -- and that's on top of a proposed income tax hike for those families.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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