With Liberals, The Taxes Just Keep Coming

When we last left the tax debate, you will recall that liberal Democrats had already weighed in with ways to spend the money that would supposedly be generated (a figure surely inflated) by canceling the Bush tax cuts. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) opted to spend the money on her Hillarycare II national health plan. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) opted to fund a middle-class tax cut. John Edwards has enunciated spending schemes too numerous to mention. Note that NO ONE proposed using the money to reduce the federal deficit, supposedly a high priority of the new Democratic majority in Congress.

If you thought that would be the end of the tax increases, you would be wrong. Recently, two additional increases have been proposed by liberals and they would not be limited to “the rich.” First, we have Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the new chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. You have to admire Congressman Rangel, a rare honest liberal who does not sugarcoat how much it would cost to implement the Democrats’ new world order. His plan to eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT), which is pinching a fair number of high-income blue-state voters (e.g., Democratic donors) involves a surtax of 4 percent on incomes around $200,000 and 4.6 percent on higher incomes beginning at $500,000. Recall that the AMT began as a device to make sure millionaires paid some tax, but Rangel is now proposing a surtax on incomes one-fifth that size.

Not to be outdone, liberal activist Robert Ball, who ran the Social Security Administration in the 1960s, provided his solution for ensuring the solvency of the Social Security system. Of course, he ruled out even modest reductions in the growth of the program and endorsed instead, you guessed it, a tax increase. Not just a tax increase, but a massive increase. He proposed lifting the income limits (currently about $97,000) on which the Social Security tax is levied (6.2 percent paid by the taxpayer, and an equal amount paid by the employer). This would increase the marginal rate a taxpayer making over $97,000 would pay by an astronomical amount.

Recall that these two taxes are IN ADDITION to letting the Bush tax cuts expire. So, taxpayers would pay up to 39.5 percent of their regular income in federal taxes PLUS a 4.6 percent surcharge plus an additional 6.2 percent Social Security tax. Presto. The marginal tax rate is back over 50 percent and it’s still only 2007.

Maryland’s new governor, Martin O’Malley, is proposing the same tax-and-spend plan at the state level — e.g., raising taxes by a lot, cutting a few others and spending the windfall. He’s running commercials in support of the plan. In one commercial, one speaker says to the other, “How is all of this to be paid for?” Replies the first, “You won’t pay for it.” Exactly.

As former Sen. Russell Long often said, “Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax the guy behind the tree.”