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What Price 'Fairness'?
Townhall.com ^ | November 20, 2012 | Mona Charen

Posted on 11/20/2012 4:41:41 AM PST by Kaslin

Realistic Republicans understand that President Obama and the Democrats head into fiscal cliff negotiations in a far stronger bargaining position now than in 2011. When voters were asked on Nov. 6 whether they favored raising taxes to reduce the deficit, a total of 60 percent said yes (47 percent favored increasing taxes for those who earn $250,000 or more, and 13 percent approved tax increases for all).

So taxes will be going up. As a matter of political strategy -- not to say survival -- Republicans will have to agree to raise taxes on those defined as rich. It's more than just the exit poll on support for tax increases. Republicans must also contend with the Pew poll that asked who would be more to blame if a fiscal cliff deal were not reached. Before a single meeting has been held or talking point fed to the press, 29 percent said they'd blame President Obama, while 53 percent said they'd blame Republicans in Congress.

President Obama sounds so reasonable when he asks for a "balanced approach" to deficit reduction. Whether the implied spending cuts -- the flip side of his balance -- will materialize is the great question.

Obama is the anodyne face of a leftist party -- a party perhaps best defined by Massachusetts Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren. Her speech to the Democratic Convention in September was a protracted roar of grievance, a fulmination against the (imagined) entrenched interests who were "rigging the system" against the poor and the middle class.

Wow. A nation that is skating to the brink of bankruptcy because it spends so much on the middle class is whipped into a righteous frenzy about how rigged the system is toward the rich? As the Washington Post's Robert Samuelson wrote in April, 60 percent of the federal government's non-interest spending goes to transfer payments to the poor and middle class. Spending on the 10 largest means-tested programs -- that is, programs for the poor -- has increased from about $4,300 per person in 1980 to $13,000 per person in 2011 in inflation-adjusted dollars.

The bill for this spending is disproportionately paid by the wealthy. The top 20 percent of income earners pay 70 percent of the taxes. Soon they will pay even more. If this is what happens when the rich rig the system, the poor and middle class should beg them to keep rigging it.

The Democratic Party is consumed by the insatiable appetite to make America "fairer" -- by taking from some to give to others. As noted above, the U.S. tax code is already steeply progressive. You needn't love the rich to understand that chasing the goal of redistribution rather than growth can result only in everyone becoming poorer.

Like many European social democratic countries, the U.S. has gotten into trouble by spending far more than it collects in taxes. Andrew Biggs, Kevin Hassett and Matt Jensen examined studies on how other nations have recovered from their fiscal improvidence. Looking at 21 countries over 37 years, they concluded that effective resolutions are rare (only about 20 percent of cases) and successful attempts to balance budgets rely heavily on spending cuts, whereas failed ones rely on tax increases. What about the "balanced" approach? "On average," the authors noted in the Wall Street Journal, "the typical unsuccessful consolidation consisted of 53% tax increases and 47% spending cuts."

Yes, taxes are going up, but let's remember, as we bow to the inevitable -- that raising taxes on the rich will put only the most trivial dent ($80 billion according to one proposal) in our trillion-dollar annual deficits. This is the great god "fairness" appeased, while the demon debt continues to breathe fire.

The sane policy goals for a nation in the kind of trouble we're in would be economic growth and entitlement reform. The progressive agenda, Richard Epstein writes in "Why Progressive Institutions are Unsustainable" (Encounter Books), supplies a "one-two punch." First, it reduces the private sector by ill-advised regulation. "Second, it imposes extensive and counterproductive programs of redistribution that cannot be supported by a stagnant economy and a shrinking productive wealth base. As that base gets smaller, the demand for a stronger safety net induces yet another round of transfer payments and makes the tax burden heavier and the rate structure more progressive. The new redistributive tax regime in turn exerts greater negative pressures on production levels."

And down we go. The worship of "fairness" is a death cult.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: bankruptcy; barackobama; fiscalcliff; taxes

1 posted on 11/20/2012 4:41:47 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

America did not vote for higher taxes as this story suggests.

They voted race, they voted abortion, they voted illegal aliens, they voted free birth control pills.

They did not vote for higher taxes.

Do not get me wrong we are going to get higher taxes, but its not what they voted for.


2 posted on 11/20/2012 4:47:47 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Kaslin

between soc. sec. kicking back in and 5% tax increase, my take home in Jan is going down 10% or more. Oh and my 2000 deduct. health Ins. went up too. Nothing to see here move along.


3 posted on 11/20/2012 4:51:57 AM PST by central_va ( I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: Kaslin

I think FAIR would be for everyone to pay the exact percentage of taxes. Everyone fairly should either pay 10%, 12% or 16%...but for someone to pay more is NOT fair. THOU SHALT NOT STEAL, (UNLESS IT BE BY CONSENT OF THE MAJORITY.)


4 posted on 11/20/2012 4:53:00 AM PST by rovenstinez
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To: Kaslin
Realistic Republicans understand that President Obama and the Democrats head into fiscal cliff negotiations in a far stronger bargaining position now than in 2011.

Realistic conservatives understood, from Day One, that this would prove the inevitable end result of attempting to unseat a doctrinaire Chicago liberal with a doctrinaire Massachusetts liberal.

"Realistic" Republicans, on the other hand, insisted that they simply knew better, of course.

Heckuva job, Mona.

5 posted on 11/20/2012 4:55:51 AM PST by KentTrappedInLiberalSeattle ("If you're not fiscally AND socially conservative, you're not conservative!" - Jim Robinson, 9-1-10)
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To: Kaslin

Fairness?
I hate the modern meaning of fairness. In today’s context, it means communist/socialist. Once upon a time is meant that two individuals negotiatins a situation (financial, competition, or otherwise) would treat each other as they wanted to be treated themselves, now it just means “you have more than me and I want some of your stuff”. The true meaning of FAIRNESS is that both sides are pleased with the outcome. Redistribution of wealth is not fairness.


6 posted on 11/20/2012 4:57:29 AM PST by BuffaloJack (Children, pets, and slaves get taken care of. Free Men take care of themselves.)
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To: Venturer
You KNOW what's coming here...first, they raise taxes, which depresses the Economy, and more folks lose their jobs.

Then, due to surging un-employment and the taxes being passed to Consumers, prices for ALL goods and services rise, depressing spending. Then, they whine about people need extended un-employment (99 weeks is not enough anymore), and we see added Taxes/Borrowing to spend even more.

This cycle of Dependency, while not reducing the handouts, will spiral further, in out-of-control fashion, until we experience the fate of Greece....count on it.

7 posted on 11/20/2012 5:04:34 AM PST by traditional1 (Don't gotsta worry 'bout no mo'gage, don't gotsta worry 'bout no gas; Obama gonna take care o' me!)
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To: Kaslin
"A nation that is skating to the brink of bankruptcy because it spends so much on the middle class is whipped into a righteous frenzy about how rigged the system is toward the rich?"

^ This

We have reached a point where the middle class in America think they are poor, and much of the upper class thinks they are middle class.

This is what class warfare brings.

Obamacare will provide federal subsidies to those at 400% of the poverty level. For a family of four, that means families with household incomes approaching $90,000 per year will receive subsidies. Congratulations, you are now "poor".

We are headed back to 70% or greater tax rates on the truly rich.

The fools who believe when the economy collapses, the new American proletariat will turn to the entrepreneurs to bail them out, like a scene out of Atlas Shrugs, will be in for a surprise. Instead, the former middle class, convinced they were poor all along, will pick up a torch and march on the rich with the Trumkas and Warrens.

8 posted on 11/20/2012 5:08:53 AM PST by magellan
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To: Kaslin

ABSTAIN


9 posted on 11/20/2012 5:09:49 AM PST by Nevermore (...just a typical cracker, clinging to my Constitutional rights...)
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To: Kaslin

It’s time to cave on this. Ask for raising the limit to a million, settle for $5000,000. We have lost this issue, time to retreat and claim victory.

Our party image..... The party of millionaires for millionaires who nominates a millionaire for president.

Donald Trump did not help.


10 posted on 11/20/2012 5:12:30 AM PST by faucetman ( Just the facts, ma'am, Just the facts)
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To: Kaslin
"The worship of "fairness" is a death cult."

Mona is dead-on with this. If you think about it, the original sin was Eve and Adam seeking "fairness". It was not fair that only God was God, knowing good and evil. Fairness suggested Adam and Eve also should have that knowledge.

First, "fair" is an opinion. Second, life ain't fair. Get over it. Anything to make it fair ultimately results in evil, because only humans are allowed to arbitrate fairness. The Nazis thought the Jews were unfair, and came up with a way to provide fairness to the Ayrians. As did Stalin, Mao, and the Khmer Rouge seek only fairness for their people.

11 posted on 11/20/2012 5:16:13 AM PST by magellan
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To: Kaslin

We were wrong to think of Obama as another Carter. It’s more accurate to think of him as another FDR.


12 posted on 11/20/2012 5:20:09 AM PST by jdsteel (Give me freedom, not more government.)
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To: magellan

Very well said, I would also like to add that nothing is fair in this world, or is it?


13 posted on 11/20/2012 5:28:01 AM PST by Kaslin ( One Big Ass Mistake America (Make that Two))
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To: traditional1
America's future, and you don't have to be psychic to see it. Funny the Congress cannot see it. Or if they do they vote for it anyway.
14 posted on 11/20/2012 5:35:21 AM PST by Venturer
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To: Kaslin
As a matter of political strategy -- not to say survival -- Republicans will have to agree to raise taxes on those defined as rich.

Stopped reading there. Survival? How? There's no survival for anyone if you vote for raising taxes on an economy snowballing downhill. What does it matter who will be blamed next week, when the next election is two years from now? Who knows what will explode before then. And you know something will.

No taxes. No deal. In fact, no taxes on anything the House doesn't like. This is a war. If you have no position, you have no base on which to fight and eventually win.

Sometimes pragmatists can be very impractical.

15 posted on 11/20/2012 5:46:23 AM PST by SamuraiScot
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To: Nevermore
ABSTAIN

Agreed. Let 'em have it. Let 'em own it.

The American electorate sadly needs a harsh wake up call.
16 posted on 11/20/2012 5:51:56 AM PST by mmichaels1970
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To: Venturer

THE 2013 OBAMA TAX INCREASE is a better name for Obama’s smokescreen, tax and spend “Cliff.”


17 posted on 11/20/2012 6:04:23 AM PST by Graewoulf ((Traitor John Roberts' Obama"care" violates Sherman Anti-Trust Law, AND the U.S. Constitution.))
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To: Kaslin

“As a matter of political strategy — not to say survival — Republicans will have to agree to raise taxes on those defined as rich.”

Not if they plan to keep their Congressional seats they won’t. The Democrats who want tax increases sure aren’t going to vote to re-elect them.


18 posted on 11/20/2012 6:11:58 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: faucetman

It’s never “time to cave” to the Marxists. It’s not a game we are playing, it’s life and death with these bastards.


19 posted on 11/20/2012 6:15:56 AM PST by Boogieman
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To: Venturer
They voted for higher taxes on anyone making more than they make.

When a liberal says “I want everyone to have what I have”
they really mean no one should have more than they have,

20 posted on 11/20/2012 6:27:15 AM PST by IMR 4350
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To: Kaslin

I tell you what. If I were a rich business owner right now, I’d shut it down, sell it off, give it all to a no-kill animal shelter and live in a hut like the Unibomber rather than hand it over to the government of this country.


21 posted on 11/20/2012 6:37:58 AM PST by A_perfect_lady
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To: Kaslin

Mona Charen is falling for the majority rules fallacy. That’s not how our government works, Mona. You beltway dummy.


22 posted on 11/20/2012 7:01:48 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: magellan
Obamacare will provide federal subsidies to those at 400% of the poverty level. For a family of four, that means families with household incomes approaching $90,000 per year will receive subsidies. Congratulations, you are now "poor".

This statement is not accurate.

An accurate statement would be ..."Obamacare will provide federal subsidies to SOME OF those at 400% of the poverty level.

There will be SOME people who contact their social worker, immigration adviser or local ACORN office and request these benefits. Same thing with food stamps, WIC, section 8 housing, medicaid, etc...Then there will be OTHER people who may be eligible but don't seek the benefit.

I have been thinking lately, what would be the consequences if everyone who was technically eligible, got the benefits?

We know already that the system is unsustainable. If we were to exaggerate the faults of the system by having everyone eligible "draining the teat", the system would fail far sooner than it would otherwise.

23 posted on 11/20/2012 7:04:17 AM PST by nitzy (A just law will neither punish virtue nor reward vice.)
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To: traditional1

Throw in licensing, restrictive work regulations and illegal immigrants and you’ve got the perfect policy for a permanent urban underclass.

Welcome to the late Roman Empire 21st century style.


24 posted on 11/20/2012 7:05:33 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: BuffaloJack

Great comment.


25 posted on 11/20/2012 7:11:23 AM PST by 1010RD (First, Do No Harm)
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To: Kaslin
(Article)
As a matter of political strategy -- not to say survival -- Republicans will have to agree to raise taxes on those defined as rich. It's more than just the exit poll on support for tax increases. Republicans must also contend with the Pew poll that asked who would be more to blame if a fiscal cliff deal were not reached.


Meh, another neocon says she likes new taxes.

Well, of course she does. Atlantic Seaboard social liberals (like neocons are) always like higher taxes. Infrastructural projects, social welfare b.s., whatever. As long as you can still get good knishes at 2 a.m.

Trouble is, Obama and his orcs are going to keep coming back until they've got it all.

26 posted on 11/20/2012 11:47:31 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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To: SamuraiScot
No taxes. No deal. In fact, no taxes on anything the House doesn't like. This is a war. If you have no position, you have no base on which to fight and eventually win.

Bump. This is a straight-up staring contest. Republicans must not blink, or they open the door to 50-60% taxation levels on everybody -- once they give up the principle Obama is trying to get them to give up.

27 posted on 11/20/2012 11:55:53 PM PST by lentulusgracchus
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