Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thou shalt not covet

With the new health care bill, the federal government has gone full Robin Hood and that's just fine with former Labor secretary Robert Reich:

I don't recall the last time Congress came up with such a direct redistribution. Occasionally Congress closes a few tax loopholes at the top and offers a refundable tax credit to workers at the bottom, or it creates a poor people's program like Medicaid, paid for out of general revenues from a progressive income tax. But to say out loud, as the House has just done, that those in our society who can most readily afford it should pay for the health insurance of those who cannot is, well, audacious. There's another word for it: fair. According to the most recent data (for 2007), the best-off 1 percent of American households take home about 20 percent of total income -- the highest percentage since 1928. Yes, I know: Critics will charge that these are the very people who invest, innovate, and hire, and thereby keep the economy going. So raising their taxes will burden the economy and thereby hurt everyone, including those who are supposed to be helped.

But there's no reason to suppose that taking a tiny sliver of the incomes of the top 1 percent will reduce all that much of their ardor to invest, innovate, and hire in the future. Yet if this tiny sliver means affordable health care for a far larger number of Americans, who will be able to get regular checkups and thereby stay healthy and productive, the positive effect on the American economy is likely to be far greater.
Forget the fact that this latest "sliver" comes on top of higher tax rates, a personal exemption phase-out, a hiked capital gains tax, along with a proposal to raise the cap on Social Security taxes which would be the largest marginal rate tax hike in history. And put aside, for the moment, that the top 10% of taxpayers already pay 71% of all federal taxes. At what point did the income of the wealthiest workers in America become fair game for all manner of government spending?

Nowhere in the Democrats’ plan do they explain why 2.1 million Americans should have to pay to reform the health-care system for 300 million Americans, nor does the Post explain why 2.1 million Americans should have to pay for the massive deficits created by Democrats in Congress and Barack Obama. Both accept the notion that government exists to transfer wealth without explaining at all the basis for a free government to do so. If we need massive health-care reform, then the costs should be borne by everyone - and when that happens, you will find massive health-care reform to be a lot less popular than when Obama, Rangel, & Co try to pass it off as something for nothing.
This President and Congress have already decided – like the apocryphal Winston Churchill story – that the "rich" are a piggy bank to be smashed in perpetuity. Now they're just haggling over the price.


Brian said...

Eric, you selfish Capitalist pig. Everyone knows that as a patent inventor, you probably stole your idea from a gay, minority, or woman, and all you want to do now is hoard your ill-gotten wealth. You should be paying for the health care of the people who were unable to invent and unable to get a great job like you have. Who cares if you went to college for 10 years? It is unfair that you should have more than anyone else.

By the way, E, why did you take Don Surber off of your blogroll?

Anonymous said...

The 'beauty' of all this unsustainable fiscal nonsense is that once our heroin (Chinese credit) runs out, every entitlement program is going to effectively disappear.

No one even pretends anymore that social security is going to be around in 20 years. But they fail to understand that medicare, medicaid and every other entitlement program is similarly doomed.

I just regret that we're going to continue paying taxes to support all this BS, but will never receive any of the benefits.

Brian said...

Thanks for adding Don Surber back.

Eric said...

Brian - Yeah, all day I've been having a daydream that I ran into Robert Reich and stole his wallet.

I don't know why I dropped Surber, but I put him back in for you. I think I was making room for "The Truth about Cars" blog.

Brian said...

Years ago, you had Right Thinking from the Left Coast on your blog roll. I discovered that site (and many others from you, such as Don Surber) and many of the ones I read daily I found from you.

By the way, Lee from Right Thinking died a few months ago. I actually met him once and he was a great guy. What really struck me was that he was about the same age as we are.

Keep up the good work.