For some time now, liberals have been demanding—their visages positively aglow with sweet reasonableness—that “the rich” should pay their “fair share” in taxes in order to help the government meet its expenses. Let’s leave aside the fact that they often make up the numbers and manipulate the statistics to suit themselves. (For instance, last year President Obama said that closing loopholes, etc., could produce $1.2 trillion in taxes, now he says it couldn’t produce $800 billion, so only raising marginal rates can force the rich to disgorge their fair share.)
No one can really argue with the proposition that the rich should pay their fair share. Of course they should, just like everyone else. But who are the rich and what is their fair share?
The president argues that a single person earning over $200,000 ($250,000 for a married couple) is rich. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer suggests that a million a year should define the rich. (He also sees nothing wrong with hedge-fund zillionaires—generous suppliers of cash to his re-election campaigns—paying only 15 percent on their eight- and even nine-figure incomes, thanks to the most egregious tax loophole on the planet, “carried interest.”) In fact, since “rich” is purely a relative term, most people define the group as consisting of everyone who earns substantially more than they earn themselves.
But at least people are willing to say who constitute “the rich.” What I have never heard is a liberal actually stating what percentage of marginal income it would be “fair” to tax away from them. And, needless to say, the wholly-owned Obama campaign subsidiary—aka the mainstream media—isn’t about to ask.
To do so, of course, would be to force Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Debby Wasserman Schultz, et al, to either name a figure that would be used against them the next time they want to raise taxes, or to shamelessly prevaricate. Heaven knows they are well practiced in the latter. But honest reporters (I know, I know, but there actually are some) would do the country a favor by asking the question anyway, over and over again. To watch them dance around and desperately change the subject would at least be entertaining and might even show people how shameless they actually are.