With All Due Respect, Go Fly a Kite

by Bernard Goldberg

Here we go again. President Obama has an op-ed out in USA Today about the debt-ceiling debate, and as sure as the sun rises in the east he’s pulling out that old liberal Democratic chestnut, calling for the wealthiest Americans to cough up their “fair share” of taxes.

We’ve been through this before, but it means nothing to the president, or any other liberal Democrat for that matter. So let’s go real slow. The top one percent of wage earners in this country pay about 38 percent of all federal income tax. The top 5 percent pay about 60 percent. The top 10 percent pay about 70 percent. And the top 25 percent pay 86.34 percent == all according to a nonpartisan group called National Taxpayers Union.

You know who doesn’t pay their fair share? The bottom 50 percent, who pay only 2.7 percent of all federal income tax collected. I know, I know. These people aren’t rich. I don’t care. They need to pay something, just so they have some skin in the game.

But here’s another point that nobody talks or writes about. You know how you’re not supposed to say anything bad about certain protected things? Like you’re not supposed to say, “I don’t like puppies,” because if you do, decent people think you’re a weirdo. (I do like puppies, in case you care. Unless they’re doing their business on my rug.) And you know how you can’t say, “I don’t like babies,” because only monsters don’t like cute little babies. (Just so you know, I like babies — as long as they’re not sitting anywhere near me on an airplane.) And let’s face it, you’re really not supposed to say that a lot of people not making it these days aren’t making it because of bad decisions they made along the way.

But we all know it’s true. And I don’t want the federal government to take my hard-earned money and give it to them in the name of fairness.

Hey, I’m all for helping people who are really trying to get by. I grew up in a lower-middle-class family. I got a state scholarship to go to college. But remember the kid in high school who never paid attention in class, who was too busy goofing off to do his homework, who thought school was a great big waste of time? Sure you do. We all know jerks like that. Sorry if I sound cruel, but I don’t want to help him now that he’s middle aged and can’t pay his mortgage.

You know who else I really don’t want to help? Stupid fifteen-year-old girls — or younger — who have babies figuring they can always get welfare to pay the bills. I want them to be a burden, not on the government, but on their relatives, on their neighbors, on their church — on anybody they actually know who they’ll have to look in the eye and say, “Give me money.” That’s a lot harder, and a lot more humiliating, than looking a bureaucrat in the eye and saying “Give me money.”

And, no, I don’t want to pay for fat-cat defense contractors, either, who charge $600 for a hammer or a toilet bowl or whatever, if that lunacy is still happening. And if the president wants to eliminate tax breaks for corporate jet owners, fine — even if the breaks amount to only $3 billion dollars over 10 years, which is lunch money in Washington.

President Obama ends his op-ed saying, “This debate offers the chance to put our economy on stronger footing, restore a sense of fairness in our country, and secure a better future for our children. I want to seize that opportunity, and ask Americans of both parties and no party to join me in that effort.”

You might first want to stop vilifying successful people, Mr. President. When you tell over-taxed Americans that they’re not paying their fair share, when you suggest that they’re the ones who are freeloading on the backs of everyone else, there’s a tendency for them — and me — to want to tell you to GO FLY A KITE! But that’s another thing you’re not supposed to say.