Over the past several weeks, America has seen on grand display in Washington a singular mindset emanating from the White House: We must raise taxes so that we can keep on spending. This week, though, America was treated to something different—a glimpse inside President Barack Obama’s mind, a roadmap of his economic worldview. And what was revealed was a philosophy that is fundamentally at odds with America’s job creators.
That insight came during the President’s press conference on Monday in which he broached the subject of raising taxes as part of the debt limit deal:
And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.
If you read between the lines, which doesn’t take much decoding, President Obama effectively believes that any income you have which you don’t “need” belongs to the government, as writer John Steele Gordon explains in Commentary. And, Gordon writes, Obama’s statement “demonstrates an astonishing economic illiteracy”:
To be sure, someone earning a great deal of money has an income greater than what he spends. . . But, unlike Scrooge McDuck, the rich do not put the excess in a vast money bin and frolic about in it. They invest it. What a concept! Where does Obama think new capital comes from, the tooth fairy?
How much income is too much? It’s hard to say, and the President doesn’t put a number on it. But that high-tax policy is so important to the President that he is willing to personalize the issue, offering up the fact that he has made a boatload selling books and can afford to pay taxes on it, as he did in hisTwitter town hall when he remarked:
But what I’ve also said is people like me who have been incredibly fortunate, mainly because a lot of folks bought my book . . . for me to be able to go back to the tax rate that existed under Bill Clinton, to pay a couple of extra percentage points so that I can make sure that seniors still have Medicare or kids still have Head Start, that makes sense to me.
On top of personalizing the issue, the President is pulling out all the stops in a take-no-prisoners demagoguery campaign, ranging from the subtle to the explicit. His criticisms of tax loopholes for corporate jets and oil and gas companies are legion, his calls for millionaires and billionaires to “pay a little bit more” are anything but subtle, and his threats over the failure to reach a tax-soaked debt limit deal are frightening.
The President’s “your money is the government’s money” mindset is having an impact on the mind’s of America’s job creators. A new survey of small business owners and executivesprepared for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows how the U.S. political environment has impacted the business environment, and the insights are troubling.
According to the survey, a vast majority of small business owners (84 percent) say the U.S. economy is on the wrong track. Tellingly, the threat of regulation and taxes are the two issues in Washington posing the greatest threat to their business, while economic uncertainty, America’s growing debt and deficit and Obamacare are top challenges as well. And when asked whether they’d like Washington to lend a hand or get out of they, 79 percent choose the latter.
And therein lies the difference. When President Obama sees successful businesses, he sees green. And when they look back, they see red. The President wants to take more so he can spend more and do more, whereas those who are the engine of America’s economy just want the government to do less so they can thrive. Unfortunately, a meeting of the minds seems a long way off.