It may not have seemed like it when you stood in line at the store before Christmas, but experts say this was a deeply disappointing retail season.
Sales growth was expected to be 3 or 4 percent, and ended up being less than 1 percent: 0.7 percent, to be precise. That’s an anemic number reminiscent of the 2008 recession.
They cite several reasons for the slumping season, including wounded Northeast markets from Superstorm Sandy, a cloud of grief from the Newtown shooting – and gridlock in Washington that many fear could lead to higher taxes and perhaps even another recession.
This president has been quoted in the past as saying you shouldn’t raise taxes in a perilously weak economy, and yet higher taxes on upper-income Americans appears to be the width and breadth of his domestic agenda. And he looks prepared to crash the economy over the fiscal cliff in order to get them.
That may not come as a surprise to those who heard him say in a 2008 primary-election debate that he’d raise capital gains rates as a matter of fairness – even if the move brought in less revenue, as has historically happened.
No one has yet explained how higher taxes will help the economy. Indeed, it’s likely that siphoning more money out of the private economy and into the federal bureaucracy will only make things worse.
Yet, President Obama and other Washington Democrats have managed to bamboozle the media and much of the country into believing that the federal government and the economy are the same thing, and that things can get better if Washington can just get its hands on certain people’s bank accounts.
Economists of any political stripe can show you that no amount of taxes will satiate the federal government, which currently borrows about 40 cents of every dollar it spends. In short, we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.
But Democrats appear
fatally allergic to thrift; they have no appetite for spending cuts whatsoever. And there can be little doubt that this president’s obsession with taxing those earning $250,000 or more cast a pall over the Christmas buying season, and is haunting tuned-in Americans even now.
It’s a bit silly to be so obsessed with “fairness” when the ship is threatening to go down – and when it’s clear that we can’t tax our way out of a spending addiction. Moreover, this notion that the “rich” don’t pay their fair share isn’t supported with any facts whatsoever.
For one thing, what is rich? Mr. Obama talks about taxing millionaires and billionaires, but his plan would tax couples at $250,000 and up, individuals at $200,000 and up. That’s hardly millionaires or billionaires, and it includes small business owners whose companies show a healthy cash flow but which are, in fact, barely getting by.
When recently given the chance by House Speaker John Boehner to actually tax “millionaires and billionaires,” Democrats declined. That’s odd, if that’s their goal.
In addition, nearly half the country pays no federal income taxes at all, and in 2009 the top 1 percent of earners paid 37 percent of taxes; the top 10 percent paid 70 percent of taxes.
Mr. Obama has yet to explain how that is so grossly unfair.
Or how grabbing more money for Washington will help the economy.
Rather than blindly push the president’s class-warfare agenda, when will the “mainstream” media ask him how it will improve the economy? When will they exhibit a modicum of the journalistic skepticism they’re supposed to show our leaders?