In a message accompanying his fiscal year 2010 budget, Barack Obama said: "For the better part of three decades, a disproportionate share of the nation's wealth has been accumulated by the very wealthy. Yet, instead of using the tax code to lessen these increasing wage disparities, changes in the tax code over the past eight years exacerbated them."
In fact, IRS figures show that the top 5 percent of wage earners pay 60 percent of total income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent of income earners pay virtually zero.
Never mind. Mr. Obama and his congressional Democrats still believe the pie should be cut in equal pieces. So whether or not their proposals will really generate enough to "pay for" their ambitious plans to socialize medicine and ban fossil fuels, "equalization" takes on a life of its own.
According to figures compiled by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget on May 8, Mr. Obama proposes to:
1) Reinstate the 36 percent and 39.6 percent personal income tax rates for taxpayers earning more than $250,000 (married) and $200,000 (single).
2) Reinstate the personal exemption phase-out and limitation on itemized deductions for those taxpayers earning more than $250,000 or $200,000, respectively.
3) Increase the top rate on capital gains and dividends from 15 percent to 20 percent for those taxpayers earning more than $250,000 or $200,000, respectively.
Also being bandied about is the elimination of the Social Security "cap" -- the level beyond which additional wages are no longer subject to Social Security taxes, under the sensible rationale that there's also a cap on how high benefits can rise under the program. Eliminating the cap will complete the process of turning the program into an outright wealth transfer scheme, since wealthy conscripts will never be able to get all their "contributions" back.
Democrats including Mr. Obama also seek a jacked-up death tax. And -- if you haven't heard enough -- "House Democrats at work on health legislation are narrowing in on an income tax surcharge on the highest-paid wage earners to help pay the cost of subsidizing insurance for the 50 million who lack it," The Associated Press reported last week.
Rep. Shelley Berkley, a Democrat from Nevada and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the proposed surtax on high-income taxpayers appealed to her and others as a way to avoid a "nickel-and-dime" approach involving numerous smaller tax increases.
Yes, holding off the crying brats while breaking into the individual little piggy banks can become tedious, can't it?
It seems frighteningly clear where this administration stands on the moral question of whether all of a "wealthy" person's earnings really belong to folks such as Barack Obama and Shelley Berkley, who hold power so they may arbitrarily decide how much we deserve to retain and how much shall be seized and "spread around."