The Obama Economic Advisory Team – A Scary Group
If you want to predict what an inexperienced politician will do when suddenly elevated by voters into a position of vast power and influence, it helps to evaluate the people he has picked to advise him. So it is with President-Elect Barack Obama.
Why is Mr. ToughMoneyLove afraid of Robert Reich? Because Reich is convinced that the wealthy have been getting a sweet deal in our economy. That makes Reich unhappy. He thinks the wealthy need to be punished for their success through increased taxes.
It’s not so much that Reich wants the marginal tax rates raised for everyone in the upper income categories. I’m sure that Obama is hearing that from every member of his economic advisory group. No – Reich is not satisfied just with taxing income at higher marginal rates. He wants to tax net worth.
In an opinion piece published last year, Reich was harshly criticizing Democrats and their competing presidential candidates for being timid on taxes. He fondly remembered the 38% top marginal rate of the Clinton years (its 35% now), as well as the 90% and 70% top rates during the Eisenhower and Kennedy administrations. But in his finger-wagging lecture to Democrats, Reich was willing to compromise at a mere 50% top marginal rate. Thanks pal.
Then came the clincher: The Reich “wealth tax.” He wants to impose a tax of 0.5% of the net worth of those Americans who hold assets in excess of $5 million. Now that tax won’t affect me and probably not many of you. But that does not comfort me. When was the last time that a government imposed a new tax (such as a “wealth tax”) and then left it alone? Doesn’t happen often. Instead, new government tax programs have a tendency to creep up, down, across, and into our bank accounts like kudzu along a Georgia highway.
I don’t want anything to do with taxing people for having done a good job of saving and investing. What kind of government policy is that? Do we want to encourage low net worth so that everyone can retire broke? We already have plenty of members in that club.
Perhaps the scariest part of Reich’s views were expressed when he anticipated a negative reaction from the targets of his tax increases:
You say the rich will leave the country rather than face a marginal tax of 50 percent? Let them, and take away their citizenship.
Great attitude, Robert. Why don’t you start with the Clintons? They are now loaded and no doubt anxious to redistribute their new-found net worth to your favorite charity: the non-wealthy.
I’m still trying to get a bead on the other members of the Obama economic advisory team. After learning that Reich was among them, I’m very afraid of what I will learn.