As I watched the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, I couldn’t help but notice the inherent contradiction in their message (they both have the same message– they were both nodding in agreement with each other all night). They both say they want to bring the country together (whatever that means), but somehow they think they can do that by engaging in class warfare. According to Obama and Clinton, all Americans must come together for “change” and “hope,” unless you’re an American who makes more than $75,000 per year. Somehow, if you make money, Obama and Clinton think you are the problem.
How can the most economically-productive people in our society be the enemy of economic growth? Aren’t the people who make more than $75,000 creating more jobs and paying more taxes than those making $35,000? And for those candidates who conveniently quote scripture, aren’t we supposed to use and multiply the talents God has given us?
The class warfare rhetoric isn’t even based on fact. The truth is the top 1% of taxpayers in the U.S. pay 39% of all taxes (that’s 2 percentage points higher than when President Bush took office). The top 25% of taxpayers, pay 86% of all taxes. And the top 50% of all taxpayers, pay 97% of all taxes (HT: www.RushLimbaugh.com). Moreover, the reduction of tax rates usually results in an increase in tax revenue to the government (as the Bush tax cuts showed). That’s because tax cuts fuel economic growth, which results in more revenue to the government even though the tax rate is lower (e.g. 35% of $200,000 is more than 39% of $150,000).
But even if the rich were not “paying their fair share” (whatever that means), you can’t unify a country by political rhetoric that continually divides people by their income. Nor can you create economic opportunity by punishing those who create it.
I hope Obama and Clinton dispense with the class warfare rhetoric and give up on their proposed socialist policies. Everywhere socialism has been tried it has failed, including in health care (rich Brits and Canadians come here for their health care; gee, I wonder why?). Moreover, class warfare ignites the wrong kind of passion in the electorate– envy, revenge and covetousness. That’s wasted energy and it produces dependence on government rather than on the true engines of economic growth–opportunity, individual responsibility and hard work. After all, the government can’t give you anything unless it takes it from another citizen first. That’s not a good recipe for unity.