Larry Elder
Consider this headline from a Reuters article in The Huffington Post: "Raising Taxes on Rich Won't Hurt Economic Growth, CBO Says."

But the first paragraph refutes the headline: "Allowing income tax rates to rise for wealthy Americans would not hurt U.S. economic growth much (emphasis added) in 2013 ..." The CBO did not say, as the headline suggests, that raising taxes on the rich has no negative economic effect. In fact, the CBO actually said that extending the Bush-era rates for all would increase economic growth by 1.5 percent. If, however, the Bush era rates expired for the rich -- but were retained for everybody else -- economic growth would still increase, but by 1.25 percent.

In other words, raising taxes would result in less economic activity, not more. Herein lies the key to understanding why the left wants higher taxes for "the rich." To the rich-should-pay-more crowd, the question of whether raising taxes hurts economic growth is less important than the issue of "fairness."

Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama, in 2008, was asked why he insisted on pushing a capital gains tax increase given that, historically, higher capital gains rates meant less revenue:

ABC News' Charlie Gibson: "You have, however, said you would favor an increase in the capital gains tax. As a matter of fact, you said on CNBC, and I quote, 'I certainly would not go above what existed under Bill Clinton, which was 28 percent.' It's now 15 percent. That's almost a doubling if you went to 28 percent. But actually Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20 percent.

Then-Sen. Obama: "Right."

Gibson: "And George Bush has taken it down to 15 percent."

Obama agreed, "Right."

"And in each instance," Gibson continued, "when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?"


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.