At the Democratic debate on CNN on Tuesday night, we saw a dozen candidates from a wonderfully American landscape of so many different and diversified walks of life. Among them:
— a Latino man who is a Congressman from Texas (Julian Castro);
— a super-smart Asian male and tech entrepreneur from California (Andrew Yang);
— an African-American member of the U.S. Senate from New Jersey who has self-identified as Spartacus (Cory Booker);
— a poised and scrappy woman of Samoan-American heritage from Hawaii who served in the military in Iraq and became the first Hindu to be elected to Congress (Tulsi Gabbard);
— a gay, white, 37-year-old mayor from the Midwest (Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind.);
— an Irish-American guy who speaks fluent Spanish, lost a Senate race, and used to play guitar onstage while wearing a bunny suit (Beto O’Rourke);
— and the apparent frontrunner, a flyweight, business-bashing academic turned U.S. senator from Massachusetts, who has self-identified as Native American (Elizabeth Warren).
Yet, despite this richly diverse and multicultural slate of candidates from so many different pockets of America, they all unanimously and wholeheartedly agree on one thing, in particular: raising our taxes.
They all say not to worry — they mainly want to raise taxes only on the rich. Let someone else pay for it. That is a comforting message at a time when half of all households in America pay little to no income tax after refunds, yet half of America receives some kind of government benefits — likely the same half.
The trouble is that the tax hikes that first are aimed only at the “rich” will end up targeting the rest of us: All of us will be paying higher taxes, eventually, to fund government’s insatiable appetite for spending our money.
What is it with Democrats’ giddy eagerness, always, to raise our taxes? Maybe they fail to recall the outcome in 1984 when Democrat nominee and former Vice President Walter Mondale bluntly and proudly proclaimed he would raise income taxes America to offset the supposed damage done by the Reagan tax cuts.
Mondale said this in a presidential debate as President Reagan ran for re-election. Millions of Americans had to admire Mondale’s honesty, so rare for any politician — and then they voted en masse to re-elect President Reagan, who got almost 60% of the popular vote and won 49 or 50 states in the Electoral College. One of the bigger landslides in our almost 250 years of history.
Lesson unlearned. Now it is the Trump Tax Cuts that must be undone. In the debate Tuesday night, Joe Biden said he wants to double the capital gains tax (now down at 20%). Bernie Sanders proudly proclaims he wants to tax billionaires out of existence and says yes, by golly, he will raise taxes even on the middle class to fund his programs. His spending plans total $90 trillion over ten years by some estimates. That is $9 trillion extra per year — more than double the current $4 trillion annual federal budget.
Sen. Warren, who can be dictatorial and combative, wants to create an entirely new kind of annual federal tax on accumulated wealth and assets, rather than taxing only income. For 70,000 families with assets of $50 million or more, a new 2% annual tax would be imposed; for billionaires, 3% extra per year.
Ever so slippery, Warren evaded repeated attempts to pin her down and get her to admit she will have to raise taxes on middle-income families. Even as she rhapsodized about a spending frenzy that will require it: to “lift five million people out of poverty” by adding $200 a month in extra pay to every one of the more than 60 million people who collect Social Security benefits and the 10 million people on disability benefits; and provide free college for all and wipe out over a trillion dollars in college debt; and provide free day care for all toddlers under age 5, and free Medicare for all: all 320 million of us. Whew!
Oh, and including, say, a million or so foreigners who illegally cross our borders every year to stay in our country, they should get benefits, too, according to most of the Dem field.
The trouble is that even the rich aren’t rich enough to fund the wild, fantastical spending plans of the Dems who took the stage on Tuesday night. When I was an anchor on TV some years ago, we came up with a startling stat: If you seized all earnings above $1 million per year from every person in the top 1%, you would end up with all of $600 billion per year.
The government already spends $4 trillion annually, so it is akin to collecting only six hundred bucks to fund $4,000 in spending. The other $3,400 has to come from somewhere and from someone else. That is why the rest of us will end up paying higher taxes, too, unless voters stop this madness.
This article is Part 1 of a series. To read Part 2 — Click Here Now.
Dennis Kneale is a writer and media strategist in New York. Previously he was an anchor at CNBC and at Fox Business Network, after serving as a senior editor at The Wall Street Journal and managing editor of Forbes. He helped write “Wealth Mismanagement: A Wall Street Insider on the Dirty Secrets of Financial Advisers and How to Protect Your Portfolio,” by Ed Butowsky, published in August 2019 by Post Hill Press. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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