Of course, it wasn’t the rich who, from 1965-2009, could not manage to cut federal spending by literally even one penny one year. It wasn’t the rich who then, on top of that, printed and borrowed another $800 billion for a 2009 “stimulus” package that didn’t stimulate. And guess what? The president is pleading for hundreds of billions more for the same failed purpose.
And it isn’t like the rich haven’t chipped in, even as President Obama demands they finally “pay their fair share.” In fact, the top 1 percent of income earners in America pay nearly 40 percent of all federal tax revenue (click here). The top 5 percent pay almost 60 percent. The top 10 percent pay 70 percent. The top 25 percent pay 86 percent.
But President Obama excoriates the rich for allegedly not paying enough. He also blasts Republicans for opposing tax increases that would merely further subsidize our government’s spending addiction. Obama bitterly derided “tax cuts for the wealthy” as the Republicans’ “Holy Grail.”
Unfortunately, this rhetoric has astonishing success among the Democratic faithful. Every time I write an article like this I get bombarded with emails from Democrats enraged at “rich” people, who they blame for their problems. It is sad to see, especially when you understand that this self-destructive mentality is being fostered by a political party.
One person who emails me is just desperate—and I mean desperate—to increase taxes. He will not be satisfied until taxes are raised on the rich. He will not even consider spending cuts. He wants revenge. He is very angry.
When I asked him if there is such a thing as government greed, he didn’t answer. He didn’t want to answer. His worldview allows for no greed in a government that spends pathologically, and then coerces wealthy people taxed at rates of 36-70 percent (from 2011 back to 1965) to send to Washington more and more money. In his mind, there is greed only in the wealthy for not wanting to surrender more and more.
This kind of rhetoric is poisonous, destined to yield the bitterest fruit. Nonetheless, the Democrats’ class-based rhetoric continues undaunted.
Envy is a vice, not a virtue, and certainly should not be political strategy.
Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College, executive director of The Center for Vision & Values, and author of the book, “The Communist: Frank Marshall Davis, The Untold Story of Barack Obama’s Mentor.” His other books include "The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism" and "Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century."