Raise My Taxes: Battle Cry of the Irresponsible Citizen


President Obama held a town hall meeting sponsored by LinkedIn on Monday.  When it came time to call on audience members for questions, a surprised Obama stood up and said, “Yeah, well, ah, you… you kinda put me on the spot here… that guy, uh, the guy in the glasses in the back, there in the very back.  Why not?”

The guy in the glasses in the very back just happened to be Doug Edwards, a very rich hyper-liberal who made his fortune at Google, and donated $300,000 worth of it to Democrats over the last ten years.

“Thank you, Mr. President,” Edwards said.  “I don’t have a job, but that’s because I’ve been lucky enough to live in Silicon Valley for the last ten years, and work for a small start-up company down the street here that did quite well, so I’m unemployed by choice.  My question is: Would you please raise my taxes?

Wow!  What an amazing coincidence!  That totally random choice of questioner threw the ultimate softball right into Obama’s lap!  And the President wasn’t even expecting questions from the audience at all – he was totally put “on the spot.”  People don’t usually ask questions at town hall meetings!

Or… could it be that America is actually teeming with rich guys who desperately want to pay more in taxes, but are prevented from doing so by squads of evil Republicans, who break into their houses with machine guns when these noble liberals try to give our even more noble President the money he needs to take care of the helpless middle class?  Since there’s no way to voluntarily donate money to charities, and a private charity couldn’t possibly be as efficient as the government in any event, these radiant souls can only cry out for tax increases to provide an outlet for their philanthropic frustrations.

At any rate, the “Raise My Taxes” millionaire is a carefully cultivated shrub in Obama’s class-warfare garden.  The paramount example, of course, is Warren Buffett, who endlessly pleads for higher taxes he can refuse to pay, just has he’s refused to pay nearly a billion dollars in back taxes already.  There’s even a club called the “Patriotic Millionaires” dedicated to socking everyone else with higher taxes.  Their name implies that any millionaire who refuses their demands is unpatriotic.  That’s the sort of thing only liberals are allowed to say about their political opponents.

These people are politically useful to class-warfare types because they appear to be acting completely against self-interest, granting them an assumption of purity that is, by definition, denied to anyone who thinks taxes should be lower.  It’s extremely impolite to describe the hunger of government dependents for higher taxes and bigger spending programs as “greed” – that term is reserved solely for those who wish to keep their own money. 

I’d like to ask the “Raise My Taxes” crowd a question: Why are you so incurious about all the money people like Barack Obama have already taken, and wasted?

I would hazard a guess that if our laid-back deep-pocketed tax-hungry Google millionaire paid big money for a private service – say, lawn care, or kitchen remodeling – he’d expect to get what he paid for.  If only a fraction of the work was completed, and the service provider demanded vast new payments in order to fix the crumbling infrastructure of the lawn or kitchen, few of the “Raise My Taxes” crowd would meekly hand over the cash… and repeat the process, year after year, without asking very stern questions about what sort of value they were getting for the money.

And yet, when it comes to the government, these people expect us to offer quiet submission to its ever-increasing demands.  $1.5 trillion in income taxes isn’t enough for you, Mr. Obama?  You want double?  Sure, here you go!  No questions asked!  Maybe you can clear up lingering questions about the billions that vanished into “stimulus” programs and “green jobs” initiatives in your memoirs.

People like Edwards aren’t saying they might be willing to consider higher taxes if Obama, and the rest of the federal government, are held to account for those squandered billions, wasteful spending is eliminated, and it turns out Washington still needs a bit more money to balance the budget.  They are not interested in the simple math that proves no amount of taxation, up to and including outright confiscation, could cover our current levels of government spending – to say nothing of containing the damage from the entitlement bombs that are about to detonate.

They’re absolving the government of responsibility for its conduct by offering more money immediately.  Worse: given the staggering hypocrisy of the tax-evading Warren Buffett, what they’re really doing is offering themselves as public-relations props for an effort to force other people to submit to Obama’s demands, and damn their obsessions with liberty, capitalism, or even simple government accountability.

When the man who gave half a billion taxpayer dollars to his cronies at Solyndra says he needs higher taxes in order to build schools, or else children won’t receive an education, Doug Edwards has absolutely no questions about Solyndra.  If the people who ran Google approached their business ventures that way, there wouldn’t be a Google, and Edwards would be in line with the millions of other Americans sent to collect unemployment and food stamps by Obama’s policies. 

The American understanding of “patriotism” is based on independence.  That’s the exact opposite of the craven submission advocated by those who think the biggest spender in history needs more money, extracted by force from a population that can never pay enough taxes.