Daily Grind: The $5 Trillion Question

The $5 Trillion Question

By Robert Romano

"Ninety-five percent of Americans would get a tax cut under my proposal."-Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), September 5th, 2008.

A lot of attention has been placed in recent days to Barack Obama's plans to raise taxes on the top 5 percent of wage earners. The Illinois Senator assures the American people that he, as President, will not raise taxes on everybody else-just those at the tippy-top of the income spectrum.

Never mind that upwards of 38 percent of Americans do not even pay income taxes. Or that the top 5 percent of wage earners are employers and investors who contribute significantly to the economy.

Let's simply consider the claim that, somehow, only the top 5 percent are going to have their taxes raised. As my favorite arithmetic teacher would say, "Let's do the math."

The federal budget for Fiscal Year 2008 wound up being $2.98 trillion, with a deficit of $454 billion. For the sake of argument, let's add to that the $850 billion bailout package that Congress enacted on October 3rd. After all, it was conveniently passed just three days after the annual deficit was calculated.

Again, hypothetically, let's also assume that the Treasury makes no money back on the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Then the total budget for the year would jump to $3.93 trillion, with a deficit of $1.3 trillion.

Let's also assume that, for the sake of argument, the budget does not shrink next year. After all, the federal government did just acquire about $5 trillion in risk from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It stands to reason that in these troubling times, some of those debts are going to go sour, and there will be more bailouts next year. So, let's assume the same amount just to keep things simple.

Now, methodology aside, Senator Obama is proposing approximately $1 trillion in new federal spending. You know, all those new welfare entitlement programs. Whammo. The budget then jumps to $4.93 trillion-nearly a whopping $5 trillion!

So here's the $5 trillion question: Where does the Senator think he's going to get the money to pay for all of that new spending?

Here's a "modest" proposal: Let's just say he taxed the top 5 percent of wage earners at a confiscatory, stealing rate of 100 percent. That's right, the government would just steal-I mean, "appropriate"-every bit of taxable income from the richest Americans. Take every penny they earn.

According to the Tax Foundation, the top 5 percent's Adjusted Gross Income in 2006 only totaled $2.97 trillion. So even if the Senator wanted to milk them for everything they earned, he'd still be $1.96 trillion short in financing his $4.93 trillion budget.

So, where does everybody think he would get the other $2 trillion from?

Perhaps through the corporate taxes, the capital gains tax, the gasoline tax, etc. but perhaps not. After all, once completely robbing the top 5 percent, it's probably safe to assume that they would not have any money to actually invest in businesses or stocks, so therefore, revenues from corporations and capital gains would plummet dramatically. Heck, the economy just might grind to a halt.

Besides, U.S. corporations already pay the second highest tax rates in the world on a national basis-or the highest in the world if you factor state corporate tax rates-so they cannot go much higher. Capital gains currently already stands at 15 percent, and if Congress does not act, will rise to 20 percent in 2011. That, coupled with gasoline taxes, and neither can go much higher without severely hurting the economy and middle America.

So, that money would have to come from somewhere. But where, oh where, could that money be? Let's set that aside for a moment.

Bringing this whole example back to the reality that under the Obama tax proposal, he has not yet, to our knowledge, proposed simply taking every penny that the top 5 percent earn. The same reality where the top 5 percent according to the same Tax Foundation study only contributed $615 billion in income taxes in 2006.

Even if a President Obama doubled that number to $1.22 trillion in income taxes collected from the top 5 percent, and the rest of revenue generated held steady at $2.523 trillion, revenues would still only grow to $3.138 trillion. Even then, he'd still be about $1.79 trillion short in financing the $4.93 trillion budget.

So, poppycock. Of course he's going to raise taxes on the middle class.

Robert Romano is the Editor of ALG News Bureau.


Perfect Murtha

By Bill Wilson

Very few things in life are truly perfect. So, it is worth something when such a pristine event occurs. For over three decades liberal Democrat John Murtha has been a member of Congress representing western Pennsylvania. Today he was absolute perfection; the absolute perfect symbol of left-wing hypocrisy, deceit, and distain for the People.

Last week, Murtha was ruminating on the prospects of the Presidential contest in Pennsylvania. He expressed the view that Democrat Barrack Obama would carry the Keystone State but left open the door he would lose because western Pennsylvania was "racist." Then the next morning, noticing that tens of thousands of his constituents did not like being slurred and treated like trash, he apologized.

Oh, he didn't mean it. It was just a momentary slip of the tongue, right? Bull.

And now, in a fruitless effort to backtrack on those words, John Murtha claims he never meant to indict the entire Western Pennsylvania population as a horde of racists. Rather, they are just "really redneck", according to the Congressman.

So instead of merely offending a specific segment of the population-Western Pennsylvania-Murtha has successfully painted an entire demographic-the "rednecks", "hicks", and country folk of our nation-with the same bigoted brush.

And in typical fashion, we would be foolish not to expect yet another dumbfounded apology in the coming days.

After 34 years are we to believe that John Murtha doesn't know what he is saying? Has he entered that stage of life where we are to ignore his words and deeds because he doesn't quite have control? Doubtful. But there is something else to consider.

From what perspective does John Murtha come to the opinion that people in western Pennsylvania are racist rednecks? Has he repeatedly heard his people tell racially charged jokes - and if so, how many times has he spoken up? How many times did he repeat that joke? Did he nod sympathetically when some constituent protested excessive welfare and other handouts and, perhaps, cast those programs in racial terms? Did he say anything, or just let it pass?

In other words, how many times over the last 34 years has John Murtha played the "race card" the other way - how often has he attacked Blacks by either omission or commission to ingratiate himself to the people of his district? So, for him now to play the card the opposite way, appealing to Black voters by kicking the very people he has very likely joked and jawed with (otherwise, how would he know how "racist" they are?) is...well, truly perfect hypocrisy.

This type of cynical manipulation goes on all the time. You see the education establishment embodied in the radical NEA union tell Black parents they should demand more public resources because those white parents are racists, while telling the white parents they should oppose meaningful school choice reform so "those people" don't come to white neighborhood schools.

True, racial tensions still exist in America. But the people themselves do more in a single day to ease those tensions and seek a genuine harmony than anything hack politicians do in a lifetime. In point of fact, those politicians, like John Murtha, feed the beast and keep it alive because they profit from it. They can always be counted on to be a "solution" looking for a "problem." And when they can't find one, they create it.

John Murtha is the truly perfect symbol for the Left in America - an elitist in a Klan hood raising a Black Power fist.

Bill Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government.


Making Free Speech History

By William Warren

2008 may make history.

With Senator Obama already lining up his cabinet and Nancy Pelosi knowing "100% Barack Obama is going to win," the confidence levels amongst Democrats are running extremely high to say the least.

Also at an all-time high is Democrats' utter disdain for all things conservative.

Whether it's John Murtha painting the Pennsylvania conservatives as racist rednecks, Joe Biden mocking Joe the Plumber for asking Obama a tough question, or Barack Obama himself skewering the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or FOX News, it is all-too clear how the Democrats feel about those on the other side of the political aisle-especially those that are the most vocal.

In just a few months' time, Democrats might very well be able to communicate this abundant abhorrence and enduring frustration not just in words but in legislation.

Predicting a monopoly on both the executive and legislative branches of government, Democrats are chomping at the bit to force feed Republicans all sorts of Big Government, left-wing legislation just despite them. One such item on their agenda, however, should have every American worried-not just conservatives.

Ever since it's death in 1987, Democrats have waited eagerly for the chance to resurrect the so-called "fairness doctrine." This atrocity of a law would require that radio stations "mandate" fairness by allotting equal airtime to various political viewpoints. In essence, the free speech of people like the aforementioned Limbaugh and Hannity would be regulated and restricted. The government would control what is acceptable popular voices would be silenced.

The (un)fairness doctrine is a blatant, unashamed attack on what is arguably the most essential American right-free speech. This totalitarian regulation could have very well been plagiarized from the pages of a George Orwell novel.

Under a Democrat controlled House, Senate and Presidency, the (un)fairness doctrine's resurrection is not a question of "if" but "when." President Obama would be able to unilaterally re-implement the doctrine minus any new legislation.

Writing in the New York Post, Brian C. Anderson had the following to say regarding the ban on free speech:

"The Fairness Doctrine was an astonishingly bad idea. It's a too-tempting power for government to abuse. When the doctrine was in effect, both Democratic and Republican administrations regularly used it to harass critics on radio and TV."

Moreover, as Adam Thierer of the Heritage Foundation chronicles, the (un)fairness doctrine has been found to be both unconstitutional and inherently unfair time and time again since its inception in 1949.

In the 1969 case Red Lion Broadcasting v. FCC, the court ruled that if the doctrine ever limited free speech, its constitutionality should be questioned. In the 1974 case Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo, the Court found that the (un)fairness doctrine "inescapably dampens the vigor and limits the variety of public debate." Again in 1964, the Court ruled that the doctrine was intrinsically flawed and severely limited the scope of public debate in FCC v. League of Women Voters. And in 1987, the (un)fairness doctrine was finally repealed by the FCC and kept there by Ronald Reagan's veto.

Although proven wrong time and time again, America's left-and arguably every member of the Democrat party-still finds the idea of legislating "fairness" to be a wonderful idea. Having lusted after such anti-democratic power for so long, Pelosi, Gore, Kerry, Obama and the rest will use this historic opportunity to bolster their power by silencing the opposition for which they carry so much unbridled animosity.

Although it may sound drastic, any attempt on behalf of government to tread on free-speech in any way should never be taken lightly.

Government authority rests on the precipice of a slippery slope: If radio should be mandated for "fairness", then why not the internet? If the internet, then why not all other forms of media? Why not school and collegiate discourse? Why not all public discourse?

Where does it end?

So as the Democrats lick their lips and begin making their plans for January 20, 2009, Americans everywhere must know what is on the line.

If anything else, the 2008 election may make history by making free speech history.

William Warren is a contributing editor of ALG News Bureau.