Rep. Chaka Fattah’s assertion on Al Sharpton’s MSNBC show last night has received plenty of derision. Instapundit calls it “banking on the moocher vote,” and Twitter pundit Keder derisively notes, “Democrats would rather give you freebie ‘benefits’ then do anything useful that might actually help you find a job. I know this may be hard for @TheDemocrats to understand, but the unemployed don’t want ‘benefits.’ They want jobs.” Unfortunately, that may all be true, but that doesn’t make Fattah wrong, either:
The American Spectator has this:
Is Your Vote for Sale?
Obama campaigns as if he is certain that your vote is for sale, and all he has to do is come up with some taxpayer-financed freebies for you. First it was free contraceptives for everyone, as if your vote could be bought by a condom. Then it was cut rate student loans, which was always a fraudulent issue. It was the Democrats that provided for the interest rates to double on new student loans issued after July of this year, years ago when they had majority control of Congress. House Republicans already voted through a bill to continue the lower rates, financed by cutting government spending elsewhere. But Obama and Senate Democrats have refused to consider any House passed bill financed by reduced government spending, defining the difference between the two parties today. The Democrats demand record taxes or record borrowing to finance record spending, which is what we have got today.
If you are in need of basic necessities with no immediate alternative, then taking public assistance from a safety net program is not morally objectionable. Or if you have paid into a program over the years in return for the benefits, as with Social Security and Medicare, then you cannot be faulted for taking the benefits. But selling your vote to whoever promises you the most free benefits at taxpayer expense is a perversion of democracy, really just a sophisticated version of organized crime. You should not be living at the expense of the taxpayers or your neighbors if you are not in serious need.
That is not what American democracy has been all about. Our Founding Fathers emphasized repeatedly that a functional democracy required a virtuous people. This is what they were talking about, people having the virtue and good sense not to look to sell their vote to whoever bid the most freebies at taxpayer expense for it. They knew that politicians campaigning on free bread and circuses at someone else’s expense had historically been the downfall of democracies in the past. And we are on track for that today as well, if we fall for Obama’s Third World vision of democracy as voter bribery.
What students need more than a cut rate student loan is a job that will enable them to pay back the loan. But over half of recent college graduates do not have jobs. What young working people need is not a free condom but the freedom to pursue the American Dream and traditional American prosperity. They will not get that, however, from Obama’s Hugo Chavez economy.
The 99 Percent vs. The 1 Percent
Since when has it been considered just for the bottom 99 percent to say to the top 1 percent, “We can outvote you to take your money”? That is a politics of piracy and theft, with no roots in American history.
Sure the richest can be validly asked to bear proportionally more of the overall tax burden because they can do so with the least harm. But before President Obama was even elected, official IRS data shows that in 2007 the top 1 percent of income earners paid 40.4 percent of all federal income taxes, almost twice their share of adjusted gross income. The top 5 percent paid 60.6 percent of all federal income taxes, while earning 37.7 percent of adjusted gross income. The top 10 percent paid 71.2 percent of all income taxes, while earning 48 percent of adjusted gross income.
By contrast, the bottom 95 percent of income earners paid 39.4 percent of all federal income taxes. That means the top 1 percent of income earners paid more federal income taxes than the bottom 95 percent combined!
Moreover, in 2007, again before President Obama was even elected, the bottom 40 percent of income earners as a group paid no federal income taxes. Instead, they received net payments from the income tax system equal to 3.8 percent of all federal income taxes. In other words, they paid negative 3.8 percent of federal income taxes. The middle 20 percent of income earners, the actual middle class, paid 4.7 percent of all federal income taxes.
What this adds up to is that even before President Obama was elected America already maintained the most progressive income tax system in the western world, maybe the entire world. Moreover, that was the result of almost 30 years of Reagan Republican supply-side economics that began with Reagan and Jack Kemp in the 1970s and 1980s, continued through Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America, and further played out with the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. When President Reagan brought his supply-side economics to Washington in 1981, the share of federal income taxes paid by the top 1 percent was 17.6 percent. After a quarter century of rate cuts, that share had more than doubled by 2007 to 40.4 percent, as noted above. That is because with the lower tax rates, incomes boomed along with the economy, and high income taxpayers had the incentives to pull their money out of tax shelters and invest it in the real economy, fueling the boom while increasing their reported income. But so-called Progressives (we should start calling them throwbacks instead) can’t understand these dynamics of modern capitalism.