Liberals’ “tax fairness” is really tax arbitrariness
September 10, 2012 4 Comments
Michael Ono of ABCNews found an interesting contradiction. Liberal icon Elizabeth Warren, practically the inventor of “you didn’t build that”, disagrees with an aspect of Obamacare, her ideological soulmate’s crowning achievement. Ono does well to note the discrepancy between Warren’s usual positions and her rhetoric in this specific instance. However, he misses the mark on what the contradiction really says. The opening paragraph’s embedded liberal assumptions and language obscure the real issue:
U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is a superstar within the Democratic Party and a lightning rod for Republican outrage over the issue of tax fairness. But there is one tax that Warren doesn’t like and it’s part of Obamacare.
Conservatives lose the battle over the language time and again. Allowing the party that created the family and ambition-destroying welfare state to get away with claiming the mantle of “social justice” is one example. Likewise, what is “the issue of tax fairness”? Did the Republican platform include a section titled “Our plan for unfair taxes”? Populist posturing that stokes envy against high earners should not associate the Democrats with ”tax fairness”. More apt but less pleasant-sounding would be the clearer phrase ”tax increases”.
The story continues by describing the one and only tax Warren just can’t stomach:
The 2.3 percent excise tax on medical devices is a little-known provision in the law that is estimated to raise $20 billion in revenue over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
But some Democrats, including Warren, a Democratic National Convention speaker, represent states that employ medical device workers and are concerned that the tax with hamper job growth in industry valued at over $100 billion in 2010, according to the Department of Commerce.
And there you have it. Elizabeth Warren supports any new tax or higher rate as being “fair”, unless supporting that change to the tax code will affect her ability to get elected. Why else would Warren suddenly wake up to the obvious concept that higher taxes can hamper job growth?
This problem rears its ugly head as soon as a population accepts the validity of differing tax rates, waivers, or rebates for different industries. The ultimate tax scheme will be a convoluted mess with high compliance costs, and driven mainly by which politicians are the best influence peddlers; that is, it will be arbitrary. Having enabled this arbitrary scheme, it’s ironic that so many in the US decry the corrupting influence of “money in politics”. If politicians were forced by voters to enact smaller government and flatter taxes, there’d be nothing for that money to buy. By accepting political micro-managing of the economy, we force special interests to invest heavily in order to make taxes a little “fairer” for themselves.
For anyone who mistakenly attributes sincerity or principle to a woman who faked being a Native American in order to gain affirmative action benefits, her one quote in the article should put that notion to rest:
“Three changes in government policy are essential: a more efficient regulatory system at the FDA, repeal of the medical device tax, and an increased national commitment to research and education,” said Warren.
Notice the stark contrast. She calls in an extremely broad fashion for more regulations and increased spending (i.e. more government power), but in between she jams in a mention of one incredibly specific tax that just happens to hurt her potential constituents in Massachusetts most. Forty-nine other states surely have their own special interests to appease. If you believe the resulting log-rolling amongst the political class will produce an outcome that resembles anything close to “fairness”, Elizabeth Warren has some authentic Cherokee war garb she’d be happy to sell you.