Friday, November 5, 2010
Voters Speak: No to Soak-the-Rich Schemes
Voters Speak: No to Soak-the-Rich Schemes
By Michelle Malkin
Do Americans share President Obama's desire to impose redistributive social justice on the well off? In liberal Washington State, of all places, voters gave a definitive answer this Tuesday: No! The resounding rejection of a punitive "Robin Hood" initiative shows that it's not just red-state Republicans who oppose extreme tax hikes on the nation's wealth generators.
As Capitol Hill resumes debate on whether to extend the so-called "Bush tax cuts," the White House should pay special heed to the fate of little-noticed Initiative 1098. Its defeat by a whopping 65-35 margin doesn't bode well for Team Obama's class warriors still clinging bitterly to their soak-the-rich schemes. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner insisted this summer that saddling higher earners with higher taxes was "the responsible thing to do." Given the chance to weigh in at the ballot box, a diverse majority of voters in the other Washington determined otherwise.
The Evergreen State is just one of seven states in the nation without a personal income tax. The ballot measure, which would have enacted a state income tax on the wealthiest 1 percent of Washington residents to raise $2 billion for bankrupt public schools, was sponsored by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his left-wing corporate lawyer father. Top donors? The Service Employees International Union, whose state and national chapters threw in a combined $2.5 million of its members' hard-earned dues money, and the National Education Association, which pitched in nearly $760,000.
Hiding behind kiddie human shields, the I-1098 campaign assailed the wealthy for "not paying their fair share" and plastered their campaign literature with sad-faced students and toddlers. Big Labor has been pushing a punish-the-wealthy movement for months. According to Forbes magazine, "six of the 10 states with the highest income tax rates -- Oregon, California, Hawaii, New York, New Jersey and North Carolina -- raised their levies on high earners, at least temporarily" last year.
But business owners large and small, representing companies from Bartell Drugs to Amazon.com, successfully fought back against the job-killing measure in Washington State. Disavowing the Gateses, Microsoft honcho Steve Ballmer also joined the opposition. The software company's senior executives expressed grave concern "about the impact I-1098 will have on the state's ability to attract top tech talent in the future." Liberal newspaper editorial boards including the Seattle Times and Tacoma News Tribune added their objections, citing I-1098's reckless targeting of wealth-creation in the middle of a recession and the inevitable extension and increase of income taxes to the middle class. And economists at the independent, nonpartisan Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University found that I-1098's tax burdens would lengthen and deepen the current economic downturn by destroying private sector jobs, reducing residents' disposable income and prolonging the state's high unemployment rate.
Amber Gunn of the free-market Evergreen Freedom Foundation in Olympia, Wash., gave the bottom line on I-1098's unreality-based advocates: "Initiative proponents like to operate in a Keynesian world where higher tax rates and their effects on human behavior and competitiveness among states don't matter. But those effects are present in the real world and must be accounted for."
I-1098's promoters tried to disguise their wealth-suppression vehicle as tax "relief" by tossing in a few stray targeted cuts. But they were called out by a judge and slapped with a court order to make the income tax burden explicit in the ballot title.
If only the taxmen in Washington, D.C., were required to do the same. Obama's budget proposal is a soak-the-rich scheme adorned with a few business tax breaks that would -- for starters -- impose nearly $1 trillion in higher taxes on couples making more than $250,000 and individuals making more than $200,000. Some "relief."
On Thursday afternoon, still smarting from the nationwide "shellacking" the Democrats received on Election Day, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs signaled that Obama would be willing to "entertain" temporary -- not permanent -- tax relief for the nation's highest earners. But a time-limited reprieve in prolonged economic hard times is expedient politics and bad policy. Tax relief should be all or none. The new House majority should force the Democrats to choose.
Republicans must stop allowing the White House to demonize America's entrepreneurs and producers. By continuing to refer to them as beneficiaries of the "Bush tax cuts" instead of as the besieged victims of Obama tax increases, the GOP cedes the moral high ground. It's time to make the White House own its noxious war on wealth.
Take Your Olive Branch and Shove It, Democrats
By Michelle Malkin
On the eve of a historic midterm election upheaval, President Barack Obama tried to walk back his gratuitous slap at Americans who oppose his radical progressive agenda. "I probably should have used the word 'opponents' instead of 'enemies' to describe political adversaries," Obama admitted Monday. "Probably"?
Here is an ironclad certainty: It's too little too late for the antagonist-in-chief to paper over two years of relentless Democratic incivility and hate toward his domestic "enemies." Voters have spoken: They've had enough. Enough of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner's rhetorical abuse. Enough of his feints at bipartisanship. Whatever the final tally, this week's turnover in Congress is a GOP mandate for legislative pugilism, not peace. Voters have had enough of big government meddlers "getting things done." They are sending fresh blood to the nation's Capitol to get things undone.
Just two short years ago, Obama campaigned as the transcendent unifier. "Young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled, Americans have sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of red states and blue states," he proclaimed. "We have been and always will be the United States of America." It's been an Us vs. Them freefall ever since.
"We don't mind the Republicans joining us," Obama taunted a few weeks ago. "They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."
"They're counting on young people staying home and union members staying home and black folks staying home," the fear-mongering agent of hope and change jeered on the campaign trail last month.
"You would think they'd be saying thank you," he sneered last April, when millions turned out for the nationwide Tax Day tea party protests.
"I want them just to get out of the way" and "don't do a lot of talking," he scoffed in response to prescient critics of the federal trillion-dollar stimulus boondoggle.
In addition to labeling GOP opponents of his open-borders policies "enemies" who needed to be "punished" by Latino voters, Obama accused them -- that is, us -- of lacking patriotism. "Those aren't the kinds of folks who represent our core American values," he told viewers of the Spanish-language network Univision.
Democratic leaders have taken their cue from Team Obama's persistent politics of polarization.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer called vocal citizens who protested the federal health care takeover bill during the town hall revolts of 2009 "un-American," too. Remember? "These disruptions are occurring because opponents are afraid not just of differing views -- but of the facts themselves. Drowning out opposing views is simply un-American," Pelosi and Hoyer blasted in an op-ed piece for USA Today last summer. "Drowning out the facts is how we failed at this task for decades."
This from the woman who called for a vengeful government investigation of grassroots opponents of the Ground Zero mosque.
Obama's pal Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida, whom the president hailed as an "outstanding" member of Congress, accused Republicans of wanting elderly people to "die quickly" and of presiding over a "holocaust in America." Vice President Joe Biden hailed Grayson as a "guy who doesn't back away from a fight, and doesn't back down from what he believes in" and told him at a fundraiser: "We owe you one, buddy." No mention of Grayson's smear of a female Federal Reserve adviser as a "K Street whore."
In California, entrenched incumbent jerk Pete Stark derided immigration enforcement activists at a town hall by asking: "Who are you going to kill today?" To an elderly constituent who opposed the health care bill, Stark retorted: "I wouldn't dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn't be worth wasting the urine."
As voters who have been maligned by the ruling majority as stupid, unwashed, racist, selfish and violent headed to the polls Tuesday, Democrats released "talking points" attacking Republican leaders who "are not willing to compromise." But "no compromise" is exactly the message that un-American Americans delivered to Washington this campaign season:
No more compromising deals behind closed doors. No more compromising bailouts in times of manufactured crisis. No more compromising conservative principles for D.C. party elites. No more compromising the American economy for left-wing special interests. No more compromising transparency and ethics for bureaucratic self-preservation.
Let us be clear, in case it hasn't fully sunk into the minds of Obama and the trash-talking Democrats yet: You can take your faux olive branch and shove it. Thank you.
To read another article by Michelle Malkin, click here.
Posted by Brett at 1:14 AM