In today's Boston Globe, Jeff Jacoby shows how Obama's proposed tax hike is a false lesson in "neighborliness":
"Neighborliness." Perhaps that word has a nonstandard meaning to someone whose home adjoined the property of convicted swindler Tony Rezko, but extracting money by force from someone who earned it in order to give it to someone who didn't is not usually spoken of as neighborly. If Citizen Obama, "sitting pretty," reaches into his own pocket and helps out the waitress with a large tip, he has shown a neighborly spirit. But there is nothing neighborly about using the tax code to compel someone else to pay the waitress that tip.Ah, but if Obama was less than virtuous in his personal charitable contributions, he'll make up for it by taking money from somebody else. Also, if you'll recall, six months ago Obama said he would raise the capital gains tax - even though it has historically suppressed actual tax revenue - in the interest of "fairness."
Taxation is not generosity, it is confiscation at gunpoint. Does Obama not understand the difference?
Perhaps he doesn't. Eager though he may be to compel "neighborliness" in others, he has not been nearly so avid about demonstrating it himself. Barack and Michelle Obama's tax returns show that from 2000 through 2004, when their adjusted gross income averaged nearly a quarter of a million dollars a year, their annual charitable donations amounted to just $2,154 - less than nine-tenths of 1 percent.
"Bill Clinton in 1997 signed legislation that dropped the capital gains tax to 20%," said Mr. Gibson. "And George Bush has taken it down to 15%. And in each instance, 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%, 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?"So there you have it: Barack Obama wants a tax policy guided by "neighborliness" and "fairness" instead of equity, revenues, and - let's face it - logic. Hold on to your wallet, folks.
Mr. Obama answered by citing rich hedge fund managers. Raising the capital gains tax is necessary, he said, "to make sure . . . that our tax system is fair and that we are able to finance health care for Americans who currently don't have it and that we're able to invest in our infrastructure and invest in our schools. And you can't do that for free."