Retro taxing

McCain on the campaign trail today:

Senator Obama is running to be Redistributionist in Chief. I’m running to be Commander in Chief. Senator Obama is running to spread the wealth. I’m running to create more wealth. Senator Obama is running to punish the successful. I’m running to make everyone successful.

McCain’s BIG CLOSING ARGUMENT is that Obama is a socialist because he plans to make the federal income tax more progressive.  Not as progressive as it was in the 50s and 60s, of course, but approximately as progressive as it was during the Clinton years.

The unstated premise of this argument is that any tax that takes more from one person than the next is thievery.  Hey, we are all citizens, right?  Why should one person pay more than another?

Yes, we are all citizens, but some of us have MORE ABILITY TO PAY.  I thought this dispute was resolved in 1913 when the US imposed an income tax for the first time after much political battling (it took a Constitutional amendment).  A century later the concept of progressive taxation is so accepted that even the FAIR TAX folks try to sell their plan because it’s a lot more progressive than you think.

Is McCain really this crazy and reactionary?  I doubt it.  But as the presidential candidate of the GOP in 2008 he represents a political movement that really is that crazy and reactionary.


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Filed under economics, framing

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