I must admit I was not a fan of the last President. It is not because he isn’t a nice guy. I don’t know him, but there is no denying he was articulate and elegant in general. And this is not about his policies, which is a discussion for another day. NO, it is about his approach.
Having listened and watched him virtually every day of his Presidency, at least when you could see him on TV, I found him to be poignantly accusatory.
In the aftermath of the financial crisis, there was a lot of struggling people. President Obama wanted to be their hero–their “savior.” But it was not a savior in a Biblical sense. His approach was to point a finger at a small cadre of the public and charge them with a lack of contribution, a dearth of humanity.
Irrespective of how and why, as he saw it? What they had was inappropriate, unfair; a pot of gold that was his struggling constituency “deserved.” What is yours should be MY constituents’, because my base needs it; nay, DESERVES IT!
He was a good old fashioned, self-important, Robinhood.
I did not appreciate being in his gunsights, particularly with no means to challenge his ardent condemnation of years of hard work. Nor do I believe, in the large, that he had ANY basis other than he spoke with the authority of the Oval Office.
At that time, I maintained and still do, that if he had stood in front of the American people and said “there are a lot of people who are hurting and need assistance, and there are some people out there better situated who we are going to ask for help”, he would have gotten a lot more support and, to be honest, been a lot more effective. There is a big difference between obligation and choice.
I am not a big fan of Angry, Accusatory and Vindictive.
Obama Helped Create Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders & Entire Progressive Crowd
Now, as you will see, this is actually an opinion piece about an arcane tax deduction. So, why am I leading off with an ideological tangent concerning the past President? Because, the discussion of taxation has been distilled into one simple target, the rich, judged by one simple word, fairness. (Of course, this is a really broad topic so, just to tantalize you, there will be a broader discussion at another time. I am sure you are really psyched). The former Chief Executive bandied about that standard to
justify his concept of ideological confiscation and redistribution. He used such invectives like the sword of a modern-day D’Artagnan, determined to skewer opponents in his path. And he adjusted the goalposts on the field of the ideological left-wing. Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bill de Blasio, and other left-wing progressives now have a powerfully vague standard which they use to define fairness and redistribute society in their likeness.
One of their favorite justifications for what they consider to be the abysmal state of affairs in this country (I think they should all spend some time living, without the benefits of their office, in Venezuela, Cuba, or Iran) is that the rich don’t pay anywhere near enough of the funds needed by the black hole of the US Treasury, they don’t carry their load, they don’t pay their (here comes that word again) “fair share.”
The Left’s Class Warfare
That, despite the fact that the top 1% of earners pay something like 40% to 50% of all income taxes, and the top 10% carry close to 90% of this burden. That means our progressive brethren have less to dole out to satisfy the craving of their constituency. Hmm. Interesting.
So, just what is fair share? Absolute taxes paid? Effective tax rates? How about
percent of income? In the end, it is an individualistic definition defined to be self-serving. It is an arbitrary definition designed to justify the loud sucking sound of the ideological left, progressives, socialists or any similar adjectives one might choose.
An Idea For Progressives: Real Charity
This ultimately lets me focus here on the narrow topic I want to address that may feed into this unhappy state. Charity. (I love when I can wander across an ideologic waste land to get to the oasis of principle).
Ouch! I am sure you are looking for the Band-aids already. Who would make up for all the good that such giving does? Well, here is the thing. I don’t really want to stop the ability of people to do good. I just want to spread it out and allow all of us to participate.
How you may ask? Oddly, at least until we get rid of taxes in their entirety (another interesting topic), allow taxpayers at-large to self-direct a portion of their taxes to legitimate charities or government purposes. I know a lot of people who would like to see more money going to schools, infrastructure, or disabled veterans. So, what we do is allow every taxpayer, on an after-tax basis, to choose how some of their tax dollars will be used. Say 15%; the amount should equate in dollar terms to the total amount of charitable giving that now takes place; even a bit more. If desired, the amount of self-direction can be capped and, if one wants, one can also allow small amounts of charitable tax deductions to continue, amounts hopefully within everyone’s reach. But in the end, the super-rich lose a venue of tax minimization meaning they pay more tax as a percentage of income (and wealth), the rest of us don’t end up on the hook for the hole and get to be more involved in how our hard-earned income is spent and, as a society, we still try and strive to do good.
Win, Win, Win.
And, less of this accusatory, politically-defined brandishing of the Sword of Fair.