Harsanyi On Fairness and The Buffett Rule

Harsanyi makes a fantastic point here.

If that $47 billion is so important to get back in the hands of taxpayers, why not just leave it in their hands to begin with?

Harsanyi: Obama’s “fairness” fiction – The Denver Post: President Barack Obama kicked off his re-election campaign in earnest this week with a stirring message of hope and unity for the American people: Eat the rich!

According to media reports, “fairness” will be one of the central messages of the entire Obama campaign. So fittingly, the Senate will pretend to vote on the Paying a Fair Share Act — or the “Buffett rule” — soon. Sure, the United States may own $15 trillion of debt and a stagnant, underemployed economy, but nothing says leadership like coordinating your populist message with a sham congressional vote to propel fundraising in Florida.

“Fairness,” an elusive idea normally exploited by spoiled children, is now the foundation of the Democratic Party’s economy policy. If implemented, anyone earning $1 million a year or more would be required to pay at least 30 percent of his income in taxes. That would help reduce the deficit by raising $31 billion over 11 years, according to congressional tax analysts — $2.8 billion a year, or less than a day’s worth of new debt incurred by Washington.

That’s nothing to sneeze at, says Jason Furman, a key member of the Obama economic team. “We think $47 billion is actually a meaningful amount of money for us and most Americans,” he explained, overestimating the Buffett rule. And it is. It is meaningful enough to be the centerpiece of the Obama campaign, though, not meaningful enough to cut from a budget and save taxpayers the burden of paying it back.

Related links:
The Buffett Rule: Free-Lunch Egalitarianism – Charles Krauthammer

  • Fcarthy

    “If that $47 billion is so important to get back in the hands of taxpayers, why not just leave it in their hands to begin with?”That’s the point, they’re NOT paying the taxes they should be. Also, to the argument that the amount of money collected in taxes would be too little to make a difference, I say this: How much would be collected if we do nothing?