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July 16, 2012

Obama On American Achievement: You're Welcome

You may think you've achieved something.

Think again, buddy.

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If youíve got a business -- you didnít build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didnít get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we donít do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

This is part of his Elizabeth-Warren-esque attempt to claim that the rich owe it to the country to pay higher taxes. After all, their wealth is a product of something called "The Government," which is, sort of, a representation of "The People."

The People gave the wealthy their wealth through their joint venture called The Government, and so now the Wealthy owe it to repay the people back some of this wealth.

There are a lot of problems with this formulation, but among them is this: The People may vote for Government, but only some of the people actually fund it.

The wealthy -- the very people Obama insists owe something back to the government (and then to the people) -- actually fund most of the government.

Since Obama is always talking about the Top 1%, and his new higher hypothetical taxes are intended to extract more from this Top 1%, let's look at how much of the total tax burden of the United States -- the costs of running "The Government," to which Obama claims so much is owed -- is funded by the top 1% of earners.

ewly released data from the IRS clearly debunks the conventional Beltway rhetoric that the "rich" are not paying their fair share of taxes.

Indeed, the IRS data shows that in 2007óthe most recent data availableóthe top 1 percent of taxpayers paid 40.4 percent of the total income taxes collected by the federal government. This is the highest percentage in modern history. By contrast, the top 1 percent paid 24.8 percent of the income tax burden in 1987, the year following the 1986 tax reform act.

Remarkably, the share of the tax burden borne by the top 1 percent now exceeds the share paid by the bottom 95 percent of taxpayers combined. In 2007, the bottom 95 percent paid 39.4 percent of the income tax burden. This is down from the 58 percent of the total income tax burden they paid twenty years ago.

This analysis is from 2009 but won't have changed much (except that the top 1% now pay an even greater share).

So the top 1% pay 40.6% of all government costs, the next 4% pay about another 20%, and the bottom 95% pay less than 40% of all government costs.

So when Obama says that the wealthy wouldn't be where they are if not for "The Government" building roads and maintaining police -- the wealthy ought to agree, and say, "Yes, and you're welcome. We paid 40 cents out of every dollar spent on those things."

"The Government" spends money, but it has no money of its own. What it has is the power to coercively extract money from citizens. And it coerces a lot of it from the wealthy -- the wealthy pay a disproportionate amount for the roads and police and armed forces, even though they don't really use such things much more than anyone else.

Yet Obama seems to think "The Government" just came by its trillions (and borrowed trillions) by happenstance, and spent its money out of its own good heart. And he wants to be compensated for his benevolence.

Obama's a demagogue. The country will not survive four more years of him.

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posted by Ace at 02:32 PM

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