Better Never Than Late

April 11, 2013

The old adage “better late than never” might not apply in the case of President Obama’s tardily filed budget.

It’s one thing to habitually arrive late for scheduled appearances selfishly to build suspense and annoy those in attendance, but it’s another to present this document two months late and after both the House and Senate have passed their own respective budgets.

Why did he wait so long that he would necessarily create chaos in the process? Does he not think budgetary matters are important enough to postpone vacations and golf outings when we are on the brink of national bankruptcy?

But worse than his tardiness are the contents of the budget. Does this man never tire of devising new ways to tax “evil” rich people? It’s approaching the point of harassment. This is a government not of servants but of masters who view some of the people, at least, as subjects who exist to enable their addiction to expand government, control more aspects of our everyday lives and spend increasing amounts of money. In Obama’s America, the “rich” are one minority that doesn’t seem to be entitled to equal protection or fair treatment under the law.

Indeed, the wealthy will not pay enough in Obama’s eyes until they’re not wealthy anymore. He is proposing a cap on not only deductions for high-income earners but also exemptions, which, according to The Heritage Foundation, “would be a radical departure from long-established tax policy and would have serious negative consequence for retirement savings, employer-provided health insurance, and state and local bonds.” In keeping with Obama’s ideology that the federal government ought to be the primary charitable institution, his budget would cap — and reduce by some 30 percent — the charitable deduction.

Just as Obama once told us that at a certain point, people have made enough money — as if that’s any of the government’s business in a free society — he is now telling us he knows how much is enough to have in our retirement accounts: $3 million.

As another jab at the rich, he is also proposing to put his beloved “Buffett rule” into law. This would impose a 30 percent minimum tax rate on taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is more than $1 million. This is all just choreographed melodrama and phony populism, as the top 1 percent of income earners already pay an effective tax rate of 29 percent and middle-income earners don’t pay nearly that much.

But that’s not all. In the fiscal cliff deal earlier this year, Congress, at Obama’s demand, increased the estate tax to 40 percent, with a $5 million exemption. In this budget, almost before the ink was dry on the previous deal, he’s proposing to increase the rate to 45 percent and reduce the exemption to $3.5 million. Aside from gouging the rich yet again, can we ever have any stability in this tax code?

Just to prove he’s not entirely discriminatory against the rich, though, Obama has proposed to stick it to those evil smokers again (are any of them also rich?) in order to pay for his Big Brother-ish “early childhood investments.” And the other dirty little secret is that his Buffett rule, along with Obama’s other tax hikes on the rich, would result in hurting middle-income and low-income earners because they would apply to small-business owners and investors who fund businesses. They would also further burden the economy and job creation and make it more difficult for the unemployed to get back into the workforce.

According to the Treasury Department’s Green Book — hardly a manual for Bible-thumping bitter clingers — Obama’s budget would increase taxes some $1.1 trillion over the next decade.

Adding insult to injury, this is almost twice the amount Obama claims it to be ($580 billion), according to Heritage. Statically calculated, his budget would add about $1 trillion in revenues, after subtracting the small cuts he has proposed.

There’s more. Despite all the fanfare about Obama’s proposed cuts in entitlement spending, he would do nothing to restructure Medicare and Medicaid to make them any more sustainable. So honestly, why play games?

He also proposes a raft of new spending increases and subsidies on infrastructure, green energy projects, welfare, a new $76 billion preschool plan (Big Brother referred to above) and, yes, Obamacare while predictably shortchanging national defense.

Worst of all, Obama’s budget doesn’t come close to balancing; it would add $5.3 trillion to the debt over the next decade. Nothing short of farcical.

The president’s approach to fiscal and budgetary matters has been staggeringly reckless, and this budget is more of the same. We’re running out of time.