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Editorial: Soak-the-rich scheme would hurt us all

President Barack O’Robin Hood spoke to the American people Tuesday and promised everything short of maid service. In his last two years, the president will take from the rich and give to the poor — if the Republicans will let him.

To fund free college, a tripling of child care support, tax benefits for a select group and higher mandatory wages for entry-level jobs, he wants to raise taxes on the rich. Never mind the little matter of an $18 trillion debt that grows by a half billion dollars each day. We can enjoy all of these promises and more — and the rich can afford to pay for them — because of economic recovery.

Most working-class and middle-class Americans aren’t exactly feeling recovered, aside from relief at the gas pump the president took credit for. Low fuel prices result from a series of events initiated by private-sector exploration and drilling, a “Big Oil” agenda Obama opposed. While mocking calls for more energy production in 2012, the president said: “The American people aren’t stupid . we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”

Except, we did.

Obama spoke Tuesday of low unemployment figures, promoting the illusion of a solid recovery that helps us all. He failed to mention the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics assessment that said long-term unemployment remains “essentially unchanged.” Labor participation hasn’t been so low since the economic crisis of the late 1970s.

Dwindling labor force participation can cause long-term pain. It means more Americans are becoming dependent on those who work hard and sacrifice chunks of their paychecks to pay for federal and state spending. It means the ratio of dependents to producers is moving in the favor of dependents. With baby boomers retiring in droves, we will see only more stress on government programs, Social Security and state retirement pensions going forward. It all will be funded by people who work and/or invest.

And, no, we can’t just soak the rich. By rich, Obama means couples with combined incomes of $500,000 and up. That sounds like a lot of money to working- class individuals struggling to get from one paycheck to the next, and it is. But these are primarily the incomes of small-business executives and average investors. Each dollar they pay to the federal government is a dollar they won’t invest to expand a business and create new jobs.

If we’re going to raise taxes on the wealthy, we should do so only to pay down debt. Even then, we risk stalling the economy and going further into debt by speeding growth of the dependent class. And Obama isn’t even talking about new taxes to pay down debt. He wants new spending on proposals that have little chance of creating new wealth. If he wants spending, he should do as successful business leaders do. He should reduce spending somewhere else.

President Obama, the American people aren’t stupid. They know we can’t just tax, spend and promise ourselves into prosperity. That’s why they overhauled Congress last fall, hobbling the executive branch. As a result, Obama can act like a fabled outlaw on TV without having to deliver the goods. It’s fine to applaud his egalitarian rhetoric. It’s the thought that counts. Just don’t bank on free college, triple-sized child care assistance and other handouts this country cannot possibly afford.

This article was from The Gazette (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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