President Obama’s alma mater features a well-known monument nicknamed the Statue of Three Lies. The statue’s inscription reads, “John Harvard, Founder, 1638.”
Clever tour guides are quick to explain. First, the man depicted in the statue is not John Harvard but Sherman Hoar of the Class of 1882. Second, John Harvard did not found the university that bears his name. Third, Harvard University was founded in 1636, not 1638.
Other than that, the statue’s inscription is accurate.
For the better part of 2012 — or the worse part, depending on your perspective — President Obama has touted the idea of “asking the wealthy to pay a little more.” Like the statue’s inscription, Obama’s slogan is a monumental misrepresentation. Times three.
If Obama gets his way, the federal tax code will become a statute of three lies.
Lie number one: “ask.” The government does not merely ask for taxes.
Last year, when a group of self-described “patriotic millionaires” stormed Capitol Hill to lobby for increased taxes, a reporter suggested that they use the Treasury Department’s online donation page, which solicits “donations to help reduce the public debt.”
Using an iPad, the reporter gave each of these high-minded plutocrats the immediate opportunity to put his money where his mouth was. All flatly refused.
“Taxes are not charity,” said one in exasperation. “They are not voluntary.”
You can say that again. The IRS reported almost 15,000 criminal investigations in the last three years, with almost 7,000 convictions, most resulting in jail time.
Fat-cat advocates of tax hikes already refused to give the Treasury a red cent when asked. When the federal tax code “asks” with the force of law, those who decline the invitation will receive a government-issued orange jump suit. Not everyone can cry poor mouth to Charlie Sheen and have him pay their taxes.
Lie number two: “the wealthy.” In fact, the Obama tax increases will hit hardest our small business owners — job creators who are the lifeblood of our economy. Even the largest multinational businesses began as ideas in entrepreneurs’ minds.
Warren Buffett and his crowd have already amassed their billions and can easily pay whatever chump change the government wants. You would think Buffett would gladly do that, incidentally, though he apparently enjoys flying private but doesn’t see fit for his company to pay the taxes the government wants it to pay.
Lie number three: “a little more.” In fact, those subject to the new Obama taxes will pay much more in new taxes.
An Ernst & Young study found that Obama’s tax policy would result in a $200 billion drop in long-term economic output, 710,000 fewer jobs, lower levels of investment, a drop in real wages and a decreased standard of living for American workers.
In practice, “a little more” translates to “it’s never enough.” Big-government programs are insatiable. When $833 billion of so-called “stimulus” fails, the only possible conclusion is that not enough was spent. The more you spend, the more free stuff everybody gets!
If and when the Obama tax increase fails to pay down the debt and stimulate the economy, that will only serve to prove that the tax increase was too small. Pay no attention to the giant sucking sound.
Enough already. Our aim should be to decrease the size, scope and power of the federal government.
Obama claimed that his top priorities are jobs and growth. His tax policy of three lies ensures we will get neither.
Gayle Trotter is general counsel of the Independent Women’s Forum. Her comments are made in her personal capacity and are not intended to represent IWF’s views.