Something George Bush has said several times in his stump speeches has not attracted very much attention in the media, if any. Today several people are discussing it on one the Eschaton comments threads, and though I should save this post for tomorrow (what will I write about tomorrow if I don't hoard this: my philosophical problem concerning why our biggest toes are on the inside rather than on the outside of the feet?), it's too interesting to abstain. The usual problem with abstinence. Sorry about the babbling.
Anyway, George keeps repeating this remark:
THE PRESIDENT: That $2.2 trillion is a lot even for a Senator from Massachusetts. (Laughter.) So they said, how are you going to pay for it? How are you going to pay for this new spending? He said, we're going to tax the rich. Now, you've heard that before, haven't you? Here's the problem with that. You can't raise enough money by taxing the rich to pay for $2.2 trillion. There's a tax gap. And guess who always gets stuck with the bill? I'll tell you something else about that language, tax the rich. The rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason, so you get stuck with the bill. We're not going to let John Kerry tax you, because we're going to carry Pennsylvania and win in November. (Applause.)
Here's another version:
Let me tell you one other problem he has with that. He says, oh, I'm just going to tax the rich. Well, the rich hire lawyers and accountants for a reason -- that's to stick you with the tab. But we're not going to let him tax you, we're going to carry Iowa and the country in November. (Applause.)
The sitting president of the United States is openly admitting that he doesn't care enough about taxing the rich to enforce the tax laws that these rich people evade, or to make the tax laws fairer if they now allow the rich to escape taxes legally. And this is not commented on the Fox News? That George Bush has given up on any attempts to make the rich pay taxes? That George Bush actually thinks this idea is so good that it should be shared with all the faithful of the Republican party?
He's making this statement as if he's talking about the inevitability of the sun rising in the morning. It's a law of nature that the rich can avoid paying taxes, and the only realistic response to it is to urge other income classes to refuse any new taxes as these would just be rolled onto their backs. Talk about a class war! Well, nobody's talking about a class war except for me, and I don't count.
I would think that the rational approach to the rich not paying their taxes would be to a) work on better enforcement of existing tax laws and b) close the gaps that allow the rich to take their investments to offshore establishments in order to avoid taxes.
The least rational answer is the one that George Bush is advocating: let's not tax anyone because the rich will make sure that everybody else will pay but they will not, and this is fine and dandy with the president of the country.
It's almost like saying that we should have no laws against homicide because very wealthy defendants can buy the best lawyers and get their freedoms that way whether they're innocent of the crime or not.
That we hear nothing about this from the SCLM is a sign of something. I don't even want to think about what that might be.