Ever since the First Couple entered the White House, their social life has swirled around the very rich. Hollywood actors, pop star singers, Wall Street hedge fund managers, billionaire investors — these are the fabled "top 1 percent" in terms of income and wealth.
The Obamas invite them to White House dinners. They vacation with them on Martha’s Vineyard. They party with them. They sup with them at $35,000-a-plate fundraisers.
(Have these affairs ever included an auto worker? A mine worker? How about someone who is unemployed and looking for a job? What about someone who has lost his home? As far as I can tell, the bottom 99 percent never seems to make the cut.)
Here is what we are being asked to believe. During his three years in office, the president has come to realize that all of the people he plays golf with, has dinner with and collects millions of dollars from have too much. All of the people he never sees, never talks to and never socializes with have too little. So the president’s campaign-for-re-election theme will be: take from his friends and give to all those strangers.
Is any of this believable?
If you are inclined to take it seriously, let me remind you that you have heard it all before. Remember the 2008 presidential campaign? Health care was the number one issue. Remember the Democratic primary mantra? It was "universal coverage." And how was it to be paid for? Almost every serious candidate for the Democratic nomination gave the same answer: taxes on the rich. Barack Obama was explicit: "If you make less than $200,000 your taxes will not go up at all."
So what happened? We got Obama Care, at a cost of almost $1 trillion over the next ten years. And who is going to pay for all that? You are. And so is everybody else. My best estimate is that only about one-fifth of the cost of this measure will fall on the shoulders of the "rich." The vast bulk of the burden will fall on everyone else.
According to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, about 73 million Americans earning less than $200,000 a year will see their direct taxes rise as a result of ObamaCare.In addition there are indirect taxes that no one will be able to avoid. These include:
-A "medical devices" tax that will reach everything from bedpans to wheelchairs and crutches will raise $20 billion over the next ten years; it will hit pacemakers and artificial hips and knees, as well.
-A tax on health insurance plans will raise about $60 billion.
John C. Goodman is President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute, and author of the acclaimed book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts." He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. The mission of the Wright Fellowship is to promote a more patient-centered, consumer-driven health care system.