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Required Reading: Obama Ready to Soak the Rich

9:23 AM, Aug 19, 2008 • By DEAN BARNETT
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From the Wall Street Journal, "For Obama, Taxes Are About Fairness" by William McGurn

Great column here by McGurn, exploring the "soak the rich" tax mentality that characterizes Barack Obama's campaign:

Mr. Obama, by contrast, started out much more directly, suggesting that if you make $150,000 or less you may be poor or middle class. A family with an income above $250,000, he went on to say, is "doing well." And if you find yourself in that category, he's going to target you for a tax hike -- all in the name of creating "a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code."

In fact, the idea of fairness is at the heart of his whole economic argument. And he goes back to it in almost every public appearance.

He talks about it as a general theme: "It is time for folks like me who make more than $250,000 to pay our fair share."

He invokes it as a solution for Social Security: "[W]e will save Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share."

He points to how it guides his energy policy: "The first part of my plan is to tax the windfall profits of oil companies and use some of that money to help you pay the rising price of gas."

And he stuck to it on capital gains, even after ABC's Charlie Gibson noted that the record shows increased taxes on capital gains -- which would affect 100 million Americans -- would likely lead to a decrease in government revenues: "Well, Charlie, what I've said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness."

Translated into ordinary English, what that means is that it doesn't really matter whether a tax increase actually brings in more revenue. It's not about robbing from the rich to give to the poor. Robbing from the rich will do, especially if it's done in the name of fairness

Put aside the economic illiteracy for a moment. What else would you expect from a fellow who has only had only a passing relationship with the private sector during his entire adult life? What's still more disturbing here are the revelations regarding Barack Obama's world view.

Obama actually expects the world to be fair. Most of us by the time we've reached our 40's have discovered that the world is a relentlessly unfair place. Barack Obama, on the other hand, would have had no reason to make such a discovery. Life has treated Barack Obama magnificently. In spite of his embellishments regarding the grinding Hawaiian poverty that he overcame, he grew up comfortably middle class in a loving home while attending Hawaii's most prestigious prep school. Good fortune has similarly marked his grown-up years - we don't often hear of Obama confronting and overcoming adversity. We can assume the absence of such self-tributes isn't because the middle-aged author of two autobiographies is hesitant to discuss himself.

It would be nice if life were as fair for everyone as it's been for Barack Obama. But it doesn't work out that way. And only the most naïve politician believes that successfully legislating universal fairness is a possibility or the kind of thing that government should even be attempting. Some people will have misfortunes, while others will be as lucky as Barack Obama has been. The only way for the government to address that fundamental "unfairness" is to take down the Barack Obamas.

These are the politics of resentment and envy - they benefit no one. Except occasionally a politician who can ride them into office.