Personally, if I (or anyone with any sense of perspective) was going to pick an arbitrary figure to define “rich”, I wouldn’t say $150,000 like Obama did during his presidential campaign. When I think “rich”, I think about people who have so much money that they scout out second homes in no-tax states to avoid having to pay a few more percent—not those who have to suck up that extra few percent because they can’t afford a second home. Another sign someone is “rich”? If they haven’t paid taxes at all and aren’t on welfare, then they might, in fact, be “rich.” How about starting there?
Any lesser definition—particularly one that defines the term as someone making a living in the low $100,000’s—smacks of overstretched fiscal envy: the kind of attitude seen in socialistic states where the overarching principle of equality supersedes each person’s individual drive for financial freedom, self-determination, and achievement.
It’s a dangerous principle with which to infect a free-market economy: Don’t work too hard, climb too high, or earn too much. Otherwise, the government will punish you. Don’t do too much, or you’ll be wasting your time anyway because the government will just take the earnings from your added productivity.
How far left is Obama leaning on this? To give you an idea, France—a country traditionally viewed as more Socialist than America—is arguably now more fiscally friendly towards small businesses and entrepreneurs in the same bracket Obama and the Democrats are looking to squeeze.
While salaried French employees are launched into a 40% tax bracket above 70,000 EUR (approximately $100k USD)—an unmistakable stamp of socialism—all businesses in France with profits above 80,300 EUR (approx. $112k USD) pay a flat tax of 33.3%.
Any entrepreneurs or self-employed independent workers making up to 80,300 EUR pay between 12%-21% tax. With this kind of incentive for independent workers, which way is President Sarkozy’s government pushing people? That’s right—away from socialism and hearding.
What incentives are being provided by Obama and the Democrats for people to advance themselves professionally and financially, or to strike out on their own and produce their own opportunities? The message seems to be that the government will leave you alone if you make too little—or if you make millions—but will ride you hard and bleed you dry on the journey between those two points.
And finally, the second lesson from the New York State “Office of Mental Retardation Overtime” report is that any money the government peels off of your productivity will manifestly be funneled into activities and ventures that are pretty much ... mentally challenged.