With unfortunately few exceptions, politicians from both sides of the aisle love spending; shelling out cash makes it look as though they’re getting stuff done, after all – but nobody can burn through other people’s money quite like a Democrat. Folks are getting big stimulus payouts and a variety of promised projects must begin soon. But there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Where does all that money come from? Between President Biden’s “tax the rich” idea and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg’s mileage tax – which one might call a “tax ‘em all” proposal – folks are about to find out.
Just Put It on Our Tab
As both candidate and president, Biden promised a great increase in government spending to “build back better.” However, he also promised, in what Liberty Nation’s Andrew Moran calls “Joe Biden’s read my lips moment,” the lower-income and middle classes won’t have to pay “one single penny in additional federal tax.”
So how are Americans to pay for the $3 trillion or so required to fund Biden’s new plans for infrastructure, climate change, and inequality related spending? According to the president, both goals can be achieved by hammering the rich. Anyone – later clarified by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki to mean any individual, not household – making more than $400,000 a year will see a “small-to-significant tax increase.” Additionally, Biden plans to reverse the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and raise the corporate tax rate to 28% – and don’t forget that capital gains tax for any individual bringing in at least a million.
What most Democrats, Biden included, don’t seem to understand is that people go to work to make money – whether they’re punching the clock and flipping burgers at a fast-food restaurant or running the entire franchise. With very few exceptions, even the folks lucky enough to enjoy their work could probably find more pleasurable and fulfilling ways to spend their time. Soak the rich schemes ignore two simple facts:
- It’s the rich who provide jobs, consumer goods, and housing for the lower-income and middle classes.
- They like losing money about as much as their employees, customers, and renters do.
Simply put, there’s no such thing as a tax on the rich that doesn’t make life more difficult for the not-so-wealthy.
Your Mileage May Vary
Then there are great ideas like the mileage tax suggested by Buttigieg. It, too, is couched in tax the rich verbiage, but at least more of the not-well-off can see how this will cost them directly.
Since 1993, Americans have paid state and federal taxes on their fuel – 18 cents on the gallon for gasoline and 24 cents for diesel at the federal level. In 2020 – the year that most folks stayed home – about 123.49 billion gallons of gasoline were consumed. So not counting the folks who drive diesels, Americans already paid $22.72 billion to the federal government for the privilege of driving. But, sadly, that’s just not enough, according to Buttigieg. And besides, with all those rich folks driving electric cars these days, they’re getting out of paying it! He says this as if the Tesla-driving elite don’t spend as much time or more in a plane than an EV, or as if only the rich can afford payments on a $36,500 Chevy Bolt EV or even the $9,000-15,000 for a used Volt with low mileage – they aren’t all Teslas, you know.
The transport secretary says the idea of an additional mileage tax seems like a good idea and that it would be fair, as those who use the roads more would pay more to maintain them, but he fails to see that such a tax is already being paid. Americans, however, did not. Even many Democrats were outraged at the idea that – regardless of income – everyone who drives or pays for rides would have to pay more to do so.
Some city folk might find this acceptable, but this will hammer the poor and middle class living in rural areas, where work, school, and even the nearest grocery store is miles away. Not only would such a tax – proposed as an addition to the current fuel tax, not a replacement – merely make life more expensive for everyone, it would probably tank the re-election chances of any rural Democrat in the nation.
When the Bill Comes Due
Socialism only sells because ignorant people believe impossible promises – but those who know better understand that, as Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” The only real net change to increasing taxes for corporations and rich individuals is the inevitable jump in price inflation that soon follows.
Democrats can promise all the free stuff in the world to their voters, but it won’t change the fact that lunch is never free. As businesses lose money to taxes – or an increased mandatory minimum wage, for that matter – it costs them more money to produce the same goods. When businesses buy parts or ingredients from other companies – or rely on others for distribution and marketing – that effect compounds.
Some – though not all – companies and their wealthy owners could survive the loss of profit, but they won’t. They’re in it to make money, and so anything that looks like lost revenue will get passed on to the consumer. And it isn’t any better in the rental industry, where the increased taxation could result in foreclosures for some property owners, should they fail to raise rent to account for it. Add to that additional taxes on fuel use – both for companies transporting goods and people who must drive to survive – and the very immediate future looks quite grim, financially.
So enjoy the “free stuff” and “stimulus money” while it’s here. The bill will come due soon enough – and all Americans will have to pay when it does.
Read more from James Fite.