And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply cannot afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools, or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break.Let's put aside the fact that this statement is highly misleading since the department of education represents only 1.3 cents of every dollar of federal spending and the top 5% of taxpayers pay 57% of all taxes (and the bottom 50% pay 3.3%), and consider the more important philosophical premises implied by this statement.
It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success.
Note that he says we can't "afford" a tax cut. Let's say you have been borrowing money from a friend to pay rent or better yet, say a friend has simply been generously giving you money, and this has been going on for a long time. Finally, your friend says, "dude, I can't give you any more money." Would your response ever be: "I can't afford to allow you to stop giving me money"? In fact, isn't it the case that you can't afford to pay your own rent? Would you be mad at your friend for not giving you more money? And, if you were mad, rather than grateful for the past and eager to pay your own way, shouldn't you be considered a scoundrel at best?
How is it different ethically when we apply this principle to the government?
Whether its for schools or public television or turtle tunnels, all the government does, through taxation, is act as a middleman to expropriate the earnings of some for the unearned benefit of others. Because an individual recipient doesn't ask or see the people whose earnings he has taken, it doesn't change the fact that the money he is spending is not his own.
But, Obama has completely inverted this logic.
In his view, one does not own his wealth or income. He is a mere steward awaiting orders from Washington on how much the central planners deem is acceptable for him to keep. To those who argue that taxing wealth and income at higher rates the more you make punishes success, Obama's answer is that it is not punishment. By seizing the money you have earned and redistributing it to others whom he and his colleagues have deemed worthy, he is promoting "America's success." Evidently, individuals do not know how to properly invest, spend, or donate their own wealth and income. If left to their own devices, they will dispose of this wealth in a way that is not appropriate. Only central planners in Washington can see to it that the money is spent "wisely", i.e., in such a way that America's success can be guaranteed.
You should be thanking him!
At root, Obama rejects the idea that an individual owns his property and therefore his life. Under this view, the government's function is not to secure rights, i.e., protect an individual's right to pursue his life and happiness free from coercion, but instead, the government's function is to redistribute the earnings of some for the unearned benefit of others. Under Obama's view, man is not an individual, he is an appendage of a greater collective whose duty is to altruistically serve the interests of whatever he and the Washington central planners define as the "common good." Essentially, this collectivist view represents a complete repudiation of individualism and the principles upon which America was founded.
Advocates of freedom and capitalism must understand that the difference between them and Obama and his ilk is not the minutia of the latest budget but the principle of individualism versus collectivsm.