Jeff Jacoby
ARE AMERICANS EAGER for higher taxes on the affluent?

Barack Obama and his allies clearly think so. The president who came to office vowing to "spread the wealth around" by raising taxes on individuals with incomes above $200,000 is doubling down, making a tax hike on the rich the centerpiece of his campaign for reelection.

"We should ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more," he urged a White House audience last week. "We're talking about folks like me going back to the tax rates that existed under Bill Clinton.… And here's the thing -- there are a lot of well-to-do Americans, patriotic Americans, who understand this and are willing to do the right thing, willing to do their part to make this country strong."

An Obama campaign ad summarizing "President Obama's plan" drives the point home succinctly. "Wealthy Pay More," the on-screen title says; "Middle Class Pays Less."

Meanwhile, the union-funded activist group Americans United for Change is out with a quarter-million-dollar preposterous accusation that Mitt Romney "has not paid taxes for ten years," thanks to the "many tricks" for avoiding taxes that "people who make as much money as Mitt Romney have … at their disposal."

Few things get liberal Democrats salivating like populist red meat. But if voters generally shared the left's weakness for soak-the-rich nostrums, Nancy Pelosi would be speaker of the House, the Occupy movement would be riding high -- and Republicans would still wince at the memory of Ronald Reagan losing the White House to Walter Mondale in a 49-state landslide.

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for Townhall.com.