Obama's oil-barrel tax latest in war on the poor

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President Obama never ceases to amaze, with an economic understanding matched only by Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I-Vt.) most ardent supporters.

For those who believe that electricity comes from the wall, food comes from the grocery store and clean water comes in a recyclable plastic bottle, Obama's latest tax proposal to put a $10-per-barrel tax on oil consumed in the United States must seem like a peachy idea.

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Here's the problem that these liberal arts majors don't understand: They are taxing themselves. One of the few great things happening in the U.S. economy is the lower price of oil, which is giving Americans of all incomes an equal break at the gas pump. Wealthier Americans who can afford Teslas or other exotic electric vehicles notwithstanding, the average American driver saved $550 at the gas pump in 2015, a free-market boost to the wallet and the national economy.

But, in case you thought this was too good to be true, Obama is riding to the rescue. Since the average person was winning in this one part of the economy, the president has decided to propose a $10-per-barrel tax on oil, which equates to a new tax of approximately $70 billion a year.

Who will pay this tax?

Well, it will be collected by the oil companies — who will get the blame for the resulting price increase — but in reality, the average person trying to survive in the current stagnant wage environment is the one who will pay.

Leave it to Obama to view the good news that a working single-mother can fill up her 13-gallon gas tank for under $25 as an opportunity to soak her for more taxes.

And this is not even mentioning those who are currently able to heat their homes using lower-cost home heating oil during this winter season, saving a few coins due to the collapsing oil prices. No windfall for the American consumer can be allowed in Obama's world, as he covets that money being saved to spend on his priorities.

Lower oil prices affect the cost of plastics, airline tickets, the delivery of goods and, overall, have the net result of making things less expensive for consumers. While the low-price good times will not last, the one thing that will would be Obama's $10-per-barrel larceny out of each American's pocket.

One of the problems you get when you hire a president who views your pocketbook as his pocketbook is that he will always believe that the government should get a take of any good fortune you have. It is the basic economic philosophy of those on the left that the money each American makes belongs to the government, and the tax code is used to decide, out of the goodness of their hearts, how much they will allow us to keep of our earnings.

The irony of Obama's oil-barrel tax is that it steals a higher percentage of money from the less fortunate than from those who are wealthy, the exact opposite of the normal steal-from-the-rich-and-use-it-to-buy-votes-from-the-envious ploy that we see at play in the current Democratic presidential primary.

Instead, the Obama oil-barrel tax is the most regressive tax imaginable, in that it targets a core essential that doesn't discriminate between rich and poor. A study by JPMorgan Chase showed that those in the lowest 20th percentile in income spend 5.6 percent of their income on gasoline, while those in the top bracket only spend about 1.5 percent — talk about income disparity. In plain English, this means that poor people will pay a higher percentage of their income to cover this new tax than those who are wealthy.

The same study identified that people on the two coasts tend to benefit less from lower gasoline prices whereas Midwestern and Southern states tend to reap the greatest savings. A finding that makes sense given the dependence of many in the Northeastern corridor on public transportation — the holy grail for Obama's socialist people-mover society.

It is almost as if Obama doesn't care about the average person, whom his oil-barrel tax will disproportionately harm, but instead has a weird agenda to fundamentally transform America regardless of whom gets hurt. Or maybe he's just the guy who can't stand to see anyone having a good time, so he puts the mouse in the punchbowl so that everyone is as miserable as he is.

Either way, it will be interesting to hear his Democratic colleagues justify taxing the heck out of the poor to provide luxury bullet trains for the wealthy. Hard to fit that into the campaign brochure.

Manning is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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