Why shouldn't middle-class Americans favor higher taxes on the rich? Without meaning to, Baroness Catherine Ashton look-alike Froma Harrop answers the question:
"At some point, Americans will have to engage in a grown-up discussion about a value-added tax, which is a kind of national sales tax. . . .
Expecting Obama to share stern truths before the November election may be unrealistic. And getting a useful conversation going among Republican candidates--all of whom say they'd refuse $10 of spending cuts for $1 of new taxes--is impossible.
But one can hope that Obama will at least launch us on some baby steps toward understanding what must be done--considering a VAT, for example. And when talking about higher taxes, rather than saying "for the rich only," he should say, "The rich come first."
The rich don't have enough money to keep up with the massive growth of the government, especially as Harrop and her fellow baby boomers retire. But socking it to the rich would buy more time to keep promising more entitlements, which would have to be paid for down the road by massive new taxes on the nonrich.
Jim Pethokoukis writes that a new book by liberal journalist Noam Scheiber predicts Obama will do just that if elected to a second term:
"Generating the tax revenue that Obama would need to finance all his spending would require sharply higher taxes on the wealthy--and everybody else. And according to Scheiber, Obama might well like to start the taxathon with a $3 trillion tax hike on all Americans [by allowing all the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of this year]. Of course, that still wouldn't be enough, which is why the next step might be a value-added tax."
Obama's class warfare isn't really about defeating the rich. It's a divide-and-conquer strategy aimed at trapping the middle class in a much more powerful entitlement state.
- James Taranto