IN this presidential campaign, there are those who think some Americans don't pay their “fair share” of taxes and those who worry that some Americans have become too dependent upon government programs funded by the rest of us. The first group is composed of President Barack Obama and his supporters; the second group represents people who can do math.
Obama and other liberals portray successful citizens as paying only a pittance to the government. That's nonsense. Some took Mitt Romney's comment noting 47 percent of U.S. citizens pay no federal income tax as implying those citizens paid no taxes at all or are all chronically dependent upon government. That's not the case.
But it is true that an ever-larger share of the population is relying on government assistance funded by an ever-smaller share of citizens. Nearly one in seven Americans now gets food stamps when fewer than one in 10 were on the dole at the end of 2007. At the other end of the spectrum, a Boston Consulting Group study found the number of millionaire households in the United States decreased 2.5 percent in 2011.
As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher quipped, the problem with socialism is you eventually run out of other peoples' money. Obama would have voters believe the tiny group funding most government activities today can be squeezed for even more cash without negative economic impact. That theory comes from the “squeezing blood from a turnip” playbook and will have similar results. In reality, the unlimited government of Obama's dreams requires tax increases on top earners and the middle class.
The tax-and-spend policies Obama touts to maintain and expand the welfare state harm our economy, destroy job opportunities at all income levels and reduce the number of high-income earners necessary to keep the whole system afloat. Household income in the United States has already declined nearly $5,000 in recent years and is at its lowest inflation-adjusted level since 1995.
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