It’s NOT the Economy Stupid, It’s Theology

What if a panel of the top 100 economists in America went to Barack Obama and said:  “Raising taxes on the so-called rich is not a good idea.  Not now, anyway.  The money you would get from them will not put a dent in the defict … and it won’t stimulate the economy.  In fact, it will hurt the economy.  The money they would give to the government will no longer be there to hire new employees.  In fact, increasing the taxes on the very people who create jobs might result in higher, not lower, unemployment in this country.”

What do you think President Obama would do if he got that advice?  I think he’d try to raise taxes on the rich anyway.  For liberal Democrats like Mr. Obama, raising taxes on the wealthy isn’t really about economics.  It’s about politics – and theology.

I have noted before in this space, George Bernard Shaw’s famous observation that “Any government that robs Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.”  And since there are a lot more Pauls out there than Peters, the president figures class warfare is a good political strategy as he kicks off his re-election campaign.

He may be right.  According to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, 56 percent of Americans think taxes should be increased on households earning $250,000 a year or higher to help lower the deficit; only 37 percent disagree.

Most Americans, however, are abysmally ignorant of how the economy works.  I wonder if they’d be in favor of tax hikes on the so-called rich, if their boss at some small business said, “Sorry, I just got a tax hike and I can’t afford to keep you on the payroll any longer.”

As for the theology part …

Liberal Democrats think raising taxes on people who make a lot of money is a matter of social justice.   If you have more money “than you need,” they figure – spread it around to those who don’t have as much, as candidate Obama told Joe the Plumber.  Liberals — even those who don’t take religion all that seriously — see higher taxes on the wealthy as a moral issue.  (That is, when they’re not cynically calculating how many of those Pauls they can get to vote for them with their “tax the rich” message.  As far as they’re concerned, Peter can go to hell.)

I have no problem with this philosophy – in church.  Give all you want to the less fortunate.  But people who have taken risks, who have marketable talents, who work hard for their money, have no obligation to share it with everyone who isn’t doing as well – and that includes the kind of people who never took education seriously and who as adults may lead dysfunctional lives.  Helping the working poor is one thing.  Helping losers is something else all together.  That may not sound terribly “Christian” but that’s not my concern.

So as the campaign heats up, Republicans might want to consider a brand new strategy:  Give President Obama everything he wants in his latest stimulus plan – the one he keeps telling us that Congress must pass “right now.”  And when the economy tanks, hang the mess around Barack Obama’s neck, because that’s just where it belongs.  Then pray that the American people have enough sense to elect a Republican House, Senate and president who will undo the damage that Mr. Obama and his liberal pals in Congress have done.

From my keyboard to God’s ears …

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  • MarcieAnn

    The Barack Obama Agenda is not to be compromised…except when he’s lying about…the Barack Obama Agenda. He’s done little that he promised in the 2008 campaign and done much since his inauguration he never told us about. He’s lied about his friends, his policies, his life/background. Already inept economically and ignorant about how to create an atmosphere for growth in its every aspect, hopefully he will garner an ignominious end.

  • Michael

    1. I am not sure the American people would “have enough sense…” Obama was elected and Clinton was elected TWICE.

    2. Obama is not an extreme liberal. Even some extreme liberals have been good, well meaning Americans. Obama is in another category, in that he could never be good or well meaning. He does NOT have the best interests of a free America in mind or heart.

    GB

  • joedee1969

    The only Theology that counts is freedom and I just read the most beautiful article on freedom I have ever read that shows us America is still good:

    http://americaspeaksink.com/2011/09/never-too-old-for-freedom/

  • marcus sutton

    The Republicans rave on about cutting government spending. So let us cut it by 100 billion dollars and say that puts a million people out of work. Now tell me how you are going to increase employment by 1 million people. We will decrease taxes which is wishful thinking.Let us have a sensible plan and tell me what it is.

    • Ron Kean

      Let’s cut regulations and let the oil companies drill in the gulf and in Alaska. Let the snail darter become extinct and send water back into the fertile farm lands of central California. Scale back the EPA and let our factories produce. This is a start to greater employment. We should focus on production rather than restriction. Production and employment and happiness go together.

      And yes, we should find and cut wasteful spending like guaranteeing green industries that won’t fly or buying a bus for one trip or even using Air Force One. Many research grants are foolish. Many government jobs are ‘do nothing’ jobs.

  • DiscountDeity

    “The money they would give to the government will no longer be there to hire new employees. In fact, increasing the taxes on the very people who create jobs might result in higher, not lower, unemployment in this country.”

    How does raising personal income taxes have any effect on business’ hiring practices? Aren’t business finances separate from personal income?

    • EddieD_Boston

      Higher taxes = less consumer disposal income = less purchasing power = less demand = less sales = less profit = less hiring.

    • Nardo

      Many small businesses are S corps thst soy taxes at individual tax rates

  • Anonymous

    Open your eyes, and your hearts. Do not cling to your possessions because in the end they are meaningless.

    “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” – Matthew 19:24, The Holy Bible

    “For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” – Deuteronomy 15:11, The Holy Bible

    “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:7-10

    • juju

      Anonymous likes to preach. I thought liberals wanted to separate church and state? Well if you actually go to church and believe in what you say then you would know about “free will” and that God wants us to make the choice for charity to be an individual and willfull act and not one forced upon us by a government! To save one’s soul is not a collective taxation issue Mr./Ms. Anonymous!

  • Phil

    Good stuff, Bernie.

  • Mike Lidikay

    Social Justice, Charity, Welfare given to dysfunctional losers, destructive individuals, that threw away free education and all the opportunities this country offers for a drug induced stupor, does not benefit anyone! It only propitiates the losers downward spiral.

    I talked with a 25 year state employee the other day. I told her of two separate households I knew of with four relatives, each getting $750 to $1200 each – $4000 a month. They rent a $300 a month house and their all broke. Spent on drugs and what else? I don’t know. They have nothing, do nothing, go nowhere. They just can’t eat that many beans. Her reply was “It’s a – Family Business”. There are so many of them they have there own title. The fastest growing business in California is the “Family Business”.

    What I intended to write was “To be or – Not to be” sorta. Go against the wind or with the wind? Both roads must be traveled. I side with going against the wind of Government Stimulus, but, it is interesting to consider going with it. Let them spend as much and as fast as they want – Get all we can to survive, the best we can, the inevitable drought. Because the time will come when barrowing 10 Trillion a year will not be enough, or do any good.

    It’s almost impossible to imagine the dollar worth less then the Peso, Yen or Yuan, but the hypotheses is extremely interesting.

    • jaybear_us

      I get really tired of listening to this kind of anecdotal story trying to brand every american or family in trouble with the same brush as the few who try to scam the system. It’s the same tactic the dems and progressives use in trying to brand the Tea Party people and conservatives in general as evil, racist, heartless, or whatever.

      Why not mention, mike, all the thousands who’ve lost their jobs due to outsourcing who are in financial trouble? Or those whose jobs have been eliminated so others can be forced to do the work of two people for the same pay? Or those in trouble due to companies firing full time workers in order to hire part-timers who get no benefits? Or those who lost jobs because their companies went out of business in this recession? Or plenty of others with legitimate reasons for needing help?

      Virtually all of those are hard working Americans who probably feel they’ve been cheated out of the American dream, not representative at all of the few people you mention.

  • Cheryl Hill-Guy

    Bernie, you wrote…According to the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, 56 percent of Americans think taxes should be increased on households earning $250,000 a year or higher to help lower the deficit; only 37 percent disagree.

    Well….I am in that 37 percent that disagrees! You can’t tax and spend your way out of a recession. And yes, we ARE in a recession now. Oy..

  • Marina Coca Tambakis

    Hi Bernie,

    What a sensational column! I must correct you on one observation of yours: Christians (perfect and non-perfect) do not believe in supporting “Losers” and never have believed that for 2,000 years. Paul (St. Paul, that is) not the other G.B.S.’s Paul, never made that statement! Thank God.

    • John J

      In fact, Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was all about not being a schmuck. If anyone can read his epistles and not get that point, he is simply not literate. I am not a big fan of Paul’s, because I think he hijacked the whole shebang and used it to salve his own scummy conscience, bringing much into Christianity that I would love for Christ Himself to dispute. But I do not put God to the test, and if you look at all the good Christianity, which Paul was the head salesman for, has done, I am sure he worked through Paul, so I take the good parts, and I’ll discuss any questions with the Lord in the bye and bye. Anyone who thinks Paul was for wanton self-centered hedonism (a great problem at the time. Few times have been more debauched) does not have a clue. He said lots of things, but the gist is: be a good person. Try not to sin. Try to love one another.
      I’ll take it.

  • Kathie Ampela

    European socialism is collapsing in front of our eyes. I have significant investments in silver and palladium. Silver dropped 9 dollars in 4 days..it dropped 2 dollars since I went to bed last night. Obama is asking us to stay the course with a European model economy (or worse) in light of this? I agree with another post on this thread..capitalism is the best model around but it has to work for all. Raising taxes on the rich will make us equally poor as Brit Hume stated.

  • RecknHavic

    Someone please explain to me how having one person pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes, than another person pays, is fair.

    • RecknHavic

      Just as I suspected, no one could.

      A flat tax rate is the ONLY fair tax rate.

  • Wil Burns

    Bernie, If tax cuts for the rich create jobs, where are the jobs? The rich have had their cuts for years, and unemployment hasn’t only NOT decreased – it’s increased drastically. Your ‘what if’ screed doesn’t hold water!!!

    • Tim Ned

      Wil,

      You don’t hold water. The tax cuts were a result from a previous recession. And at the time it worked providing job growth. This recession is a result of the housing collapse compliments of Barney Franks.

      People like you are amazing. Never have your facts right and always ready to raise the taxes on someone else, but definitely not yourself!

      • Bob Hadley

        President Bush’s tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were not followed by job growth as predicted. Remember the later rhetoric concerning a “jobless recovery” and jobs as “a lagging indicator”? Jobs were only created towards the middle of 2004.

        In early 2009, as a one-third part of his so-called stimulus package, President Obama lowered taxes for 95% of all tax payers even below that of the Bush era. No taxes were increased.

        • Tim Ned

          Over 8 million jobs created from 2003 to 2007. Far short of the great economy of the 90′s but much better than the current recession. Not bad until the housing collapse.

          • Wil Burns

            Ted, Whose fault was it for the 7 1/2 million jobs lost between December of 2007 and Jan. 20th, 2009? Actually the loss of half to three quarters of a million jobs per month continued until the Recovery act was passed. Those are indisputab­le facts so explain? Bush vetoed everything having to do with the economy passed by the Democratic Congress at the time. He had a total of 13 vetoes during his 8 years and 12 of them came between 2007 and 2008. So don’t even try to blame the Congress at that time.

          • Bob Hadley

            Pres. G W Bush created a NET of about 3 million jobs in 8 years of low taxes. Pres. Obama has created none in 3 years of lower taxes.

      • Wil Burns

        Tim, Are you telling me Barney Franks has been running the country for years? I didn’t know that.

        • joe from louisiana

          That is so disingenuous because even liberals know that is the “elephant in the living room”. The reason we don’t speak candidly is because the Republicans were complicit in the housing bust via the banks. All of this talk about who is at fault is hyperbole. A recession is a fact of life depending on demographics, international trade and many other factors. The last 2 Presidents have tried to delay the inevitable by pressuring the fed to tinker. Eventually lowering the prime and cutting taxes will no longer work. That being said the current leadership is exacerbating a bad situation not mitigating it. Raising taxes will do nothing except make Krugman and other leftists feel good. And yes, Barney Frank and his idiotic ideas that everyone is mature and honest enough to not live beyond their means is a direct cause of our present effect.

          • Tim Ned

            Joe,

            Agree 100 Percent!!!

      • Wil Burns

        How about raising taxes to Reagan levels, wage war on companies that use Cayman Island mail drops, cut defense spending in half, make for-profit health insurance companies illegal and spend at least $2 trillion in infrastruc­ture.

    • juju

      Wil: Some of the rich have also lost their jobs and are fending for themselves and depleting their savings to survive in this economy which you may be unaware of. If anyone decides to raise taxes it should be done across the board to EVERYONE to pay off the deficit and not be given away foolishly. We are close to the “DEBT WALL” and we need to stop wasting money. We should make cuts and leave taxes alone! Argueing over taxing the rich MORE sounds to me like you are the selfish one here…….thinking you can take from someone else!

  • jaybear_us

    Taxing the rich man not be the answer but the anger against the rich is certainly understandable. While real income for the middle class has fallen over the last 40 years or so, we’ve seen income for the top 10% skyrocket over the same period of time. Coupled with knowing that that same top 10% or so, along with big corps have had the money, will and intent to have had laws and regulations written to benefit themselves while screwing everyone else also has gotten people angry at the ‘rich’ and the big corps. While americans lose jobs to outsourcing, are asked to do more for less pay, lose benefits and so on, there is no argument that capitalism is the best system around, but it’s got to work for everyone. In some ways, the repubs are just as ideologically blind in their way as the dems are.

    • juju

      Define rich. There are LESS rich people now thant in years past. It is not just the middle class. The Warren Buffets are not the ones being hit with your plan to tax the rich. It is the hard working small business owner who has a life and bills just like you do. Look around you and see how many of those businesses are going under. You are making statements that sound like MSNB or Obama sales pitches for class warfare. The top 10% already are paying through the nose on the taxes! Warren is a hypocrit…invested in insurance which stands to benefit from his little stunt about his secretary’s tax rate versus his capital gains rate.

      • Wil Burns

        The 400 richest Americans used to pay 30% of their income on the average to Uncle Sam. Today, they pay 18% on the average, according to Steve Rattner, a Wall Street financier, who just presented these figures on Mornings With Joe,MSNBC.

        The main reason for the drop in their tax rate of some 40% is the tax cuts by George Bush in 2003, taking the rate paid on dividends and capital gains down to 15%. This reduction in the investment class’s taxes powered the bull market in stocks from the fall of 2003 until the fall of 2007.

  • HolyChristAlmighty

    My son Bernie, I’m sorry, I was a little distracted…yes, I hear you.

  • Ron Kean

    “Losers” is an ambiguous term. I think out of the 42% that don’t pay taxes you’ll find a lot who are enjoying the good life materially and should be more responsible in supporting public services, government and the assurance of a strong military.

    If Obama wins, it’s all over. That or the Republican who wins has to find the spot where rich and poor have so much in common that it brings unity with those groups that Obama has alienated.

    I think it’s important to get Herman Cain as VP or President if he can win it. Bill Cosby did a great service in showing the Black community that they are good decent members of society. The media hypes the gangbangers, Rap artists, and poor but Cosby showed different. Cain has that same potential to me. And Rubio should be somewhere in the next Whitehouse as liaison to the spanish speaking community.

    Ann Coulter wrote a book about liberalism as religion. Michael Savage says liberalism is a mental disorder. I had a discussion with a liberal stating my objections to Obamacare (financial and bureaucratic) and he said I wanted to see babies dying in the streets. Another started complaining about the oil companies, I reminded him that he had 2 V8′s in his garage. Tell us your story.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Keep thinking about something I saw on Glenn Beck’s web show the other day. He played a video of himself on his radio show back in 2010 where he said the public will reach a point where they will accept marxism. They’ve heard capitalism doesn’t work long enough, so they will accept marxism. The latest polls that Bernie referred to seem to suggest that. It’s either that, the CBS News/NYT poll is skewed or the majority of people is the country are really ignorant and uninformed.

    • Wil Burns

      Kathie,You watch the Glenn Beck’s web show. Why?

      • Kathie Ampela

        A question asked by an employee of Media Matters…

  • G. Daylan

    I have the utmost concern for the helpless but absolutely none for the clueless. Dennis Miller

    • Wil Burns

      Dennis Miller the has-been, used to be remotely funny back in his SNL days. Since leaving SNL, he hasn’t been the least bit entertaining or funny. He dreams about having a fraction of the success that Tina Fey, Bill Maher, David Letterman, Kathy Griffin, and even some b-list comedians that are only aired in the afternoons on Comedy Central, have.

      His television career is now basically Fox charity.

      • ginnie

        How does your opinion of his talent change what he said? I agree with him, I’m glad to help those who cannot help themselves as much as I am able, I will not help those who choose not to help themselves at all.

  • John Daly

    Spot on. I believe it was Brit Hume who once said that the Democrats seem to prefer people being equally poor over people having unequal wealth.

  • EddieD_Boston

    The tax the wealthy mantra panders to the clueless, whether you’re a loser from the projects or PhD in philosphy from Harvard.
    The “I’m a better person than you b/c I fight for the little guy” religion is complete foolishness. Giving people the incentive to breed irresponsibably doesn’t help them.
    Remember the sound-bite played on FoxNews after Obama was elected? When asked why she voted for Obama the woman responded, “he gonna give us gas. He gonna give us free rent”? Notice she didn’t say “he gonna help me get an education. He gonna help me get a job”?
    These are the people fools like Obama claim to want to help by taking someone’s hard earned money and giving it to others that have no inclination to better themselves. Gimme America.
    This will be the future of our country if we keep electing fools like Obama.
    Make no mistake, Obama is a fool.

    On the bright side I think the majority of American are on to what a loon Obama is and his days are numbered. People are so pissed that an the slobbering (hat tip Bernie) mainstream media isn’t going to be able to save his presidency.

    • EddieD_Boston

      ooops…typo alert…the last sentence should read..”even the slobbering mainstream media…

  • CCNV

    The saddest thing about raising taxes is that no matter how much (and on whom) this administration raises taxes, it will never be enough to satisfy that lust for MORE.

    • Bruce A.

      I spoke with a local school director in my area of Penna. He said there is just no money out there & nobody left to tap for more. In short the country is broke.

  • phlymgrym

    That would be the cynical political strategy to curry the indies, but would pull the plug on those who sent them to stop this madness. Play it straight.

  • robin in fl

    I quote you Bernie..”Helping the working poor is one thing. Helping losers is something else all together. That may not sound terribly “Christian” but that’s not my concern.”

    AMEN to that brother..I have been saying that for years.
    The working poor have it FAR worse then the ones that sit back saying how poor they are ,all the while getting EVERYTHING handed to them for free…ENOUGH is ENOUGH!The more “they” get the more the expect or want.And that group does not care where it comes from as long as they do not have to work for it.

  • Nancye

    First paragraph from Bernie’s article:

    What if a panel of the top 100 economists in America went to Barack Obama and said: “Raising taxes on the so-called rich is not a good idea. Not now, anyway.

    ***********************

    You know in all probability that Obama’s minions HAVE told him that. He’s just too stuborn, too stupid, or too mcuh of a Marxist to acknowledge it.

  • Paul Courtney

    Bernie: Chas Krauthammer first suggested this, conditioned on Rs being “as cynical as democrats” pushing “the bill”. Fortunately for all, Rs not quite that cynical. Latest dose is news that, once again, we’re on brink of gov’t shutdown engineered by Dem Senate for sole purpose of blaming Rs. In a couple more months, people will sit through 2 or 3 more “gov’t shutdown” threats from H. Reid, maybe even MSM will take notice the true source of this awful “caustic divisiveness”.

  • rick geiger

    Well, If Repubs agreed to pass the Obama econ agenda they would A.) hurting the poor and middle class while the rich would just hire more lawyers, accountants and lobbyists, B.) Repubs would OWN O’s agenda (not good for conservatives running in 2012), C.) Make US econ even less internationally competitive, reducing overall wealth and well being of Americans. DC based legal bribery system, K St. etc is a big part of the problem. My partial, tangible suggestion is http://www.congressgohome.com
    Kind Regards,