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Taxes and 'fairness'

January 2, 2012 — Times Free Press    Bookmark and Share

Many Americans are puzzled by President Barack Obama's desire to increase taxes during a time of intense economic weakness.

But what helps explain his unwise drive to raise taxes is that he sees redistributing income in the name of "fairness" as being at least as important as doing what's best for the economy or what generates the most revenue for government.

In 2008, when he was seeking the Democrat presidential nomination against fellow Sen. Hillary Clinton, Obama was asked about capital gains tax rates.

ABC's Charles Gibson pointed out repeatedly to Obama that capital gains taxes had been lowered under both President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush -- and that revenue from the tax had actually grown as a result!

"[I]n each instance," Gibson said, "when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down."

Obama's response painfully demonstrated his view that tax policies should be geared to redistribution of wealth.

"Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness," he said.

He then said some people were making what he considered to be too much money under the lower tax rates. So even though reduced rates expanded the economic base and boosted revenue for the federal government, Obama felt it was only "fair" to raise the rates.

We respectfully disagree. Lower tax rates help the entire economy, not only "the rich." And they ultimately mean more money for government to provide services. That seems much more "fair" to us.