Patterico's Pontifications


Steyn: If You Want European-Sized Government, the Middle Class Must Pay European Style Taxes

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:45 pm

No, not just the rich. The middle class too:

Obama now wishes “the rich” to pay their “fair share” — presumably 80 or 90 percent. After all, as Warren Buffett pointed out in the New York Times this week, the Forbes 400 richest Americans have a combined wealth of $1.7 trillion. That sounds a lot, and once upon a time it was. But today, if you confiscated every penny the Forbes 400 have, it would be enough to cover just over one year’s federal deficit. And after that you’re back to square one. It’s not that “the rich” aren’t paying their “fair share,” it’s that America isn’t. A majority of the electorate has voted itself a size of government it’s not willing to pay for.

A couple of years back, Andrew Biggs of the American Enterprise Institute calculated that, if Washington were to increase every single tax by 30 percent, it would be enough to balance the books — in 25 years. If you were to raise taxes by 50 percent, it would be enough to fund our entitlement liabilities — just our current ones, not our future liabilities, which would require further increases. This is the scale of course correction needed.

If you don’t want that, you need to cut spending — like Harry Reid’s been doing. “Now remember, we’ve already done more than a billion dollars’ worth of cuts,” he bragged the other day. “So we need to get some credit for that.”

Wow! A billion dollars’ worth of cuts! Washington borrows $188 million every hour. So, if Reid took over five hours to negotiate those “cuts,” it was a complete waste of time. So are most of the “plans.” Any “debt-reduction plan” that doesn’t address at least $1.3 trillion a year is, in fact, a debt-increase plan.

As is so often the case with Steyn, the column is brilliant from start to finish.

40 Responses to “Steyn: If You Want European-Sized Government, the Middle Class Must Pay European Style Taxes”

  1. Ding.

    OK, don’t know how many more posts I have in me this weekend.

    Patterico (8b3905)

  2. Of course the GOP will refuse to channel Breitbart in refusing to cede the narrative.

    steveg (64cdaf)

  3. U.S. citizens would be better off if d.c. were to vaporize.

    mg (31009b)

  4. I’m still having fun with the fact the left is having a hissy fit if anyone accuses them of playing Santa Claus with government.

    How dare you!

    While simutaneously accusing anyone who’s threatening to prevent them from playing Santa Claus of being the Gingrich who stole Christmas. Or the reincarnation of Scrooge.

    Steve57 (1922f2)

  5. the middle class needs to buck the eff up or stay in the effing truck

    free-riding mooches

    happyfeet (d09198)

  6. It’s not merely the spendings, all the do give us the bread out of the ‘bread and circuses’

    narciso (ee31f1)

  7. 3. Thread winner, way, way early.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  8. I dunno about others, but finding out we waz worse than Fwance, kinda set me back in my Lazy Boy.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  9. I figure it’ll take both a tax increase and spending cuts to balance the books. If someone has a real plan to do it with just cuts I haven’t seen it. The Dems have finally come forward with what they want to do to raise taxes. They don’t want to cut spending at all. The repubs need to come forward with thier cuts so we can just get the budget under control.

    time123 (5250bd)

  10. the GOP would prefer to chanel Brad Pitt i think Mr steveg

    happyfeet (d09198)

  11. 9. Try reading Rico’s block quote. All the wealth of the 400 richest Americans(for the time being) only suffices to ‘fix’ the budget one year.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  12. I figure it’ll take both a tax increase and spending cuts to balance the books.

    I figure you’re wrong. Math and history are not on your side.

    No matter what the marginal rates are, we always collect about 18% of GDP in total revenue. This has been true for over 60 years. So mucking with the tax rates won’t make a difference in revenue.

    Right now, we’re spending at over 25% of GDP, so we need to cut about 1/4 of the spending to bring it in line with what we can expect to receive in revenue.

    The only other way would be to hold spending constant and somehow grow the GDP by 25%.

    Chuck Bartowski (ad7249)

  13. the premise that a pitiful cowardly government that can’t send people into space or pass a budget or win a war or sign a trade deal or build a pipeline or run a car company can more better spend wealth than the people who created is an idea only your most scholarly harvard trash could entertain

    happyfeet (1b8328)

  14. who created *it* i mean

    happyfeet (1b8328)

  15. The GOP should point this out, then propose a stiff national sales tax. Hope to God it doesn’t pass, but someone has to make the case that free stuff isn’t free.

    Kevin M (bf8ad7)

  16. I figure it’ll take both a tax increase and spending cuts to balance the books. If someone has a real plan to do it with just cuts I haven’t seen it.

    Yes you have. You just want to pretend otherwise. Just bringing spending back to the 2007 level, while leaving taxes exactly as they are, would go a long way to solving the crisis.

    Milhouse (ea3f0d)

  17. Just bringing spending back to the 2007 level, while leaving taxes exactly as they are, would go a long way to solving the crisis.

    There is no way our ideologically driven president can *not* raise taxes. His entire premise throughout his time in office has been one of class warfare and cultivating the narrative until a frustrated and out-of-work America buys it. Tax the rich because they deserve it (how dare they have success when we don’t!) and make the most minimal of cuts just to throw a bone to the opposition.

    So, by default, the president must raise taxes.

    Dana (292dcf)

  18. As Chuck mentions in #12, I thought part of the issue is that even European sized government benefits can’t be supported by European sized taxes, and even if they could be, the average standard of living would actually need to drop in America.
    You know, the Laffer curve that says as you increase tax rates you do not get a linear increase in tax revenue.
    Or, the musical version, “Tax the rich, feed the poor, till the rich, are no more.” Of course then the poor are out of luck.
    Which is just fine if you value everyone being equally mniserable over everyone being less miserable, but some are more less-miserable than others.

    The example would be you can tax the germans to feed the greeks only as long as the germans are willing to put up with it and have something to tax.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  19. Or the famous Dennis Moore Python sketch, which expresses the same point.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  20. time123, the House has passed proposed budgets. Did you read anything about them?

    SPQR (768505)

  21. Geithner is saying this morning that the only way they will work with the Republicans on tax reform is if it’s part of an agreed upon package raising taxes on the wealthy to 39+%.

    Either play our way, or you are all hosed.

    Dana (292dcf)

  22. If You Want European-Sized Government

    If one considers how much more liberal Europe is compared with the US (even today, even as it’s becoming ObamaLand) — with absurdly high prices of gasoline going back years due to fuel taxes, and other sales taxes (or VAT) up to or over 20% — that is a window into how idiotic a situation can become before a populace even raises an eyebrow.

    Closer to home, ultra-blue states like New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts (which unlike California, has never had tax assessments on real estate forced down by the voters) impose heavy annual burdens on people who own a home and must grapple with big property taxes. Yet the liberal lunacy in such areas is as high today as it has ever been.

    Meanwhile, when America’s largest state — and originally seen as a land of promise and opportunity — is witnessing lower population growth rates in over 100 years and an increasingly Greek-like, Mexico-like reputation, I think the “Golden State” and the US in general are a fit made in heaven (or hell)., November 27:

    California is 24/7 Wall St.’s “Worst Run State” for the second year in a row. Due to high levels of debt, the state’s S&P credit rating is the worst of all states, while its Moody’s credit rating is the second-worst. Much of California’s fiscal woes involve the economic downturn. Home prices plunged by 33.6% between 2006 and 2011, worse than all states except for three.

    The state’s foreclosure rate and unemployment rate were the third- and second-highest in the country, respectively. But efforts to get finances on track are moving forward. State voters passed a ballot initiative to raise sales taxes as well as income taxes for people who make at least $250,000 a year.

    While median income is the 10th-highest in the country, the state also has one of the highest tax burdens on income. According to the Tax Foundation, the state also has the third-worst business tax climate in the country.

    Don’t cry for us, Argentina.

    Mark (56b304)

  23. As I said before, I think the repubs should play up deciding to go along with the dems (at least for a period of time) and then play them for the fool in public by pointing out how little the dem plan does. Fight Alinskly/Obama with Alinsky/Obama (in technique, we at least can do it based on truth, not lies).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  24. On The Left, logic and reason never trump Fairness.
    We were warned four years ago in the Steve Gibson interview of Senator Obama when Gibson asked him about Capital-Gains Taxes, and the historical record of collections increasing when rates are reduced, and vice-versa.
    Obama’s position then, as it is now, was it was all about Fairness!
    Facts were irrelevant.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  25. Given that the standard liberal talking point/narrative for so many years was that the Bush tax cuts only benefited the wealthy, I don’t understand the sudden Democrat resistance to ending all the Bush tax cuts that the entered Obama’s presidency with or Obama’s rhetoric about Republicans holding middle class tax cuts hostage.

    Please, please, please don’t tell me the liberals were lying about the Bush tax cuts all along just to score political points.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  26. Bite your tongue, daley; Dems are the most truthful people evah!

    askeptic (2bb434)

  27. Timothy Geithner looks like a little hobbit with pointy ears and curly hair…albeit one who shaves his eyebrows.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  28. I’m with feets, we’re riding this millstone into the primordial ooze and nuthin’s gonna slow us up.

    gary gulrud (dd7d4e)

  29. time123 wrote:

    If someone has a real plan to do it with just cuts I haven’t seen it.

    I could do it, right now, with one simple rule: the federal government will not issue any checks, or disburse any money, to any person, organization or corporation, for anything other than wages and salaries earned, insurance payments for insurance plans paid into, retirement pay for retirement plans paid into, or goods or services delivered under contract.

    Do that, and the budget is balanced, immediately.

    The uncompassionate conservative Dana (f68855)

  30. But….but….SPQR, see 26.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  31. askeptic, uh no.

    SPQR (768505)

  32. You noticed too?

    askeptic (2bb434)

  33. SPQR. I know the house has passed budget proposals, but if those are the starting position here I’m not aware of it. Am I ignorant? Did the GOP house put one of them forward as their starting point?
    Not trying to be snarky. I have a day job and might just have missed it.

    time123 (5250bd)

  34. When John Boehner was asked at his most recent news conference what the GOP’s proposals for budget cuts were, he told the reporter that the GOP had actually passed a budget.

    Which is more than the Democrats have done.

    And something that the MSM does not bother to mention.

    SPQR (768505)

  35. Harry told me in all seriousness that we don’t need no stinkin’ budget.

    askeptic (2bb434)

  36. Harry just wants credit where credit is due!

    Harry Reid told the press Wednesday, “Now remember, we’ve already done more than a billion dollars worth of cuts. We’ve already done that. So we need to get some credit for that.” One billion dollars accounts for .09% of the annual deficit.

    Dana (292dcf)

  37. I already pay European-style taxes, and I don’t even get any crappy free health care. 10% sales tax (VAT for you Euroweenies), 4% property tax, and around 35% income tax. FICA, Social Securety, yada yada. That’s like half, right?

    carlitos (49ef9f)

  38. The title needs some tweaking. Europe is still going bankrupt. If you want European-sized government, the middle class needs to pay European style taxes…and then a whole bunch more.

    red sweater (ab6384)

  39. Comment by carlitos (49ef9f) — 12/2/2012 @ 9:25 pm

    10% sales tax (VAT for you Euroweenies), 4% property tax, and around 35% income tax. FICA, Social Securety, yada yada. That’s like half, right?

    No. 35% might be your marginal rate.

    Sammy Finkelman (439897)

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