I read For Obama, Taxes Are About Fairness in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The opinion piece by William McGurn mentioned Saturday’s debate that was moderated by Rick Warren. I did not watch the debates as I was on a weekend getaway with my wife and did not dare suggest that we stay in our hotel room and watch a political debate.
Anyway, according to the opinion piece, one of the questions Warren asked both McCain and Obama was:
“OK. Taxes. Define rich. I mean give me a number. Is it $50,000, $100,000, $200,000? Everybody keeps talking about who we’re going to tax. How can you define that?”
According to McGurn, McCain struggled with this question at first but eventually said that someone who makes $5 million a year could be defined as rich.
McGurn then goes on to detail Obama’s response:
Mr. Obama, by contrast, started out much more directly, suggesting that if you make $150,000 or less you may be poor or middle class. A family with an income above $250,000, he went on to say, is “doing well.” And if you find yourself in that category, he’s going to target you for a tax hike — all in the name of creating “a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code.”
In fact, the idea of fairness is at the heart of his whole economic argument. And he goes back to it in almost every public appearance.
He talks about it as a general theme: “It is time for folks like me who make more than $250,000 to pay our fair share.”
He invokes it as a solution for Social Security: “[W]e will save Social Security for future generations by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.”
I just have two questions: What is the definition of the “fair?” What is the definition of “rich?” How do we define “fair?” I was always taught that “fair” meant something like “equitable.” In my mind, “fair” means EVERYONE pays the same percentage (aka “flat tax”). The more money you make, the more you pay in taxes. That’s FAIR!
As far as “rich” goes, it shouldn’t matter. If we were under a FAIR tax system, then there would be no need to define the word “rich.”
As far as his Social Security statement goes: the wealthiest Americans are already paying MORE THAN their fair share because they will NEVER get back what they put into the system. Raising the cap will only make it more unfair.
What’s your definition of “fair?” What’s your definition of “rich?”