By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.
Perhaps Democrats are developing some sensitivity on their "tax the rich" theme. I can't see NOT taxing the rich. It's just that I disagree with the Democrats' definition of rich. The only way to fairly assess all Americans for the ridiculously expensive programs Democrats are pushing is to enact a flat income tax. Then upper-income persons necessarily pay more in taxes, as 10 percent of $100,000 is a lot more than 10 percent of $20,000. But that'll never happen, so tax-hungry Democrats are going the route of class wars.
"Rich" is a matter of more than just annual income. Geography, cost of living, savings, investments, size of family, etc., all play into whether one categorizes oneself or someone else as "rich." So, for that matter, does one's own perspective. If you're living on Social Security disability's $20,000 or so in annual income in New York City, you see someone working 80 hours per week on Wall Street and earning $100,000 as "rich." But if that person is married and supporting her two children and spouse, she's hardly rich after paying close to 60 percent in federal, state, and city taxes and trying to support her family on $40,000.
Democrats from well-to-do districts are finally starting to "get" that, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's about darn time!
"There could come a time," said Rep. Michael McMahon, a freshman Democrat from New York City's borough of Staten Island, when Democrats are in open rebellion. "We will certainly see in the next few weeks where we are going."
Election gains in some of these affluent regions have helped give Democrats big majorities in the House and Senate. Of the 25 richest districts, 14 are represented by Democrats, according to Congressional Quarterly. In 1995, Democrats represented just five of those districts.
So for a dual-income, childfree couple living in Des Moines, $250,000 in annual income might qualify them as rich. But the same is hardly true for a family of four in Manhattan, or San Francisco, or Boston, D.C., and so on.
I don't see Democrats divining a fair way to tax higher-income persons unless they take geography, family size, savings, and investment into account. If they start going into that amount of detail, class wars are certain to follow. It's a losing war for them. President Bush so badly mangled the country and especially the budget that Democrats will run against him for 20 years. But if they don't fix the economy without overtaxing the middle and upper classes, Republicans can starting running against Democrats with the powerful Reagan-era "tax and spend" mantra. Democrats should be smart enough to see that but the Obama crowd doesn't seem to be.