The Right Opinion

Save the Middle Class ... and Everyone Else

By R. Emmett Tyrrell · Dec. 13, 2012

Washington – William McGurn, the esteemed Wall Street Journal columnist and soon-to-be editor of the editorial page of the New York Post, has made an interesting observation about the fabulous Bush tax cuts that are about to lapse. They amount to a substantial sum of money for a middle-class family. For the middle class it will be a big deal if they disappear. President Barack Obama has portrayed the Bush tax cuts as a rich person's tax cut, but now he is portraying them as a huge tax break for the middle class. Of a sudden he says do not let them lapse! Instead raise taxes on the wealthy!

The president recently said, “A typical middle-class family of four would see its income taxes go up by $2,200. That's $2,200 out of people's pockets. That means less money for buying groceries, less money for filling prescriptions, less money for buying diapers.” Certainly we would all agree with the president that a $2,200 bite from a middle-class income will hurt the middle class, a substantial swath of the American people. Thus he wants to take a bigger bite from the top two percent of income earners towards balancing the budget. That will, according to his plan, add up to seven percent of the deficit. Unfortunately it hardly puts a dent in his trillion-dollar problem, a trillion-dollar problem that will confront him every year of his second term. Moreover, it will almost certainly impede growth and job creation. What is to be done? Sacrifice the middle class or sacrifice the upper two percent?

The president is depicting the present fiscal problem as a tax-revenue problem. Rarely does he speak of spending. Yet it is clearly a spending problem. The federal government spends too much money, and under his plan it will spend even more. According to The Heritage Foundation's studies, median income earnings have grown since 1970 by 24 percent. On the other hand federal spending since 1970 has grown by 287.5 percent. Put another way, the historic average of revenue is 18.1 percent of GDP, and the historic average of federal spending is 20.2 percent of GDP. Clearly the fiscal problem we face is a spending problem.

Back in the 1980s President Ronald Reagan was also confronted with a spending problem. His answer was to keep taxes down. It left the citizenry with more money in their pockets, which was good for savings and personal expenditure. Yet even more salutary, it did not leave much revenue for the federal government to spend.

As we approach the fiscal cliff we might bear this in mind, to wit, our problem is spending not taxing. People in Washington spend too much. People outside Washington – rich and poor – do not pay too little in taxes. Our solution is to take a ride off the fiscal cliff. At first the Congress might pay in terms of being held accountable by the public. Then, as the months roll on, the fiscal mess will be seen for what it is, the president's lax budget. Possibly with taxes up and entitlements unchecked we will again enter into a recession, but it will be seen as the president's recession.

Under these circumstances, perhaps President Obama will see that the soundest path to economic solvency is a growing economy, not a stagnant economy weighed down by burdensome taxes. There is no need to sacrifice anyone. Possibly the citizenry will put the pressure on him to lower taxes for all. Extend the much-maligned Bush taxes, and get serious about a growth agenda. Either that or we can have the Obama Recession.

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6 Comments

M Rick Timms MD in Georgia said:

Obama will take all that he can get from the working "wealthy", until he bleeds them dry and brings the economy to a halt- with the exception of government "investment" in green projects owned by his friends and supporters. Obama and the left do not want an expanding economy -- they must keep it limited in order to completely control the re-distribution.

Once there is no more blood in the turnip - he will simply continue printing more money so that he can spend without limit - giving "grants" to his friends at home and "aid" to HIS foreign allies.

We may make it to the midterms - but I doubt it. Even then, the "low information" crowd can be bribed to the polls with the promise of a doobie and a free abortion. If Obama's media tells them that things are getting better - then they will follow the lie right into permanent dependency.

Once he is done neutralizing the United States- I predict Obama will be elected President of the United Nations, and then simply declare himself "Exalted President of the World For Life".

Don't believe it could happen? Just look around.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 12:49 AM

Ct-Tom in NC replied:

And all the while, Obama, with the help of the press, will be blaming all of our problems on the republicans, and doubling down on his "solutions."

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 11:06 AM

Kevin from Arkansas in USA said:

"President Barack Obama has portrayed the Bush tax cuts as a rich person's tax cut, "

The Democrats have always demonized the Bush cuts this way up until the last few months. All of a sudden they acknowledge the cuts have helped the middle class.

Similar to this the Democrats have wanted to hit up the top 1% with higher taxes. Now it's the top 2%. Least we forget the Democrats have redefined millionaires as anyone making more than 250,000. For those who have graduated from large urban (Detroit, Chicago, etc), Democrat controlled public schools 250,000 is only a quarter million.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 9:16 AM

wjm in Colorado said:

There is no need to sacrifice anyone.
Obamao WILL sacrifice EVERYONE to establish his Marxist Statist Tyranny. His spending is Clowad Piven deliberate to destroy the economy. The treason of this regime knows no bounds. FORWARD COMMRADS!

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM

steve in harleysville, pa said:

Remember the old adage, "Never wrestle with a pig because you both get muddy, but the pig likes it". Obama has no problem with "the cliff", and the republicans will be blamed anyway.

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Tod in Brooklyn, NY said:

"Or argue too much, with a fool, and after a while, people cannot tell who the fool is!"

Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 5:19 PM