I have never understood how wealthy politicians could bash themselves. Obama, Pelosi, Harry Reed, Chuck Schumer have taken up the mantra of railing against tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. This has also been taken up by the vast majority of the leftist talking heads on talk radio and the news channels. During the current discussions on raising the debt limit (see my Just say no in March) the president has said that if federal expenditures are to be cut, then limiting the tax breaks going to the “wealthy” must be part of the discussion. Of course his definition of the wealthy now includes those making $250,000. As I pointed out before, his singling out of the tax break for corporate jets was merely posturing and typical democrat class warfare in that the tax break was in the stimulus bill that no Republican voted for. I wonder if Claire McCaskill, John Kerry and other democrats with private jets are on board with thiw. Or what about those Gulfstream jets that Nancy Pelosi order for congressional use? I don’t believe that the media cared to point any of this out either to the president or to the public for that matter. The democrats have also railed (notably Nancy Pelosi) that the republicans want to cut medicare and her caucus would never vote for a decrease. Excuse me? Didn’t the democrats cut medicare by $500 billion to get the mathematics of Obamacare to work? How can the democrats get away with telling these two obvious lies? What I want asked is that if the top 50 percent of wage earners pay 96 percent of federal income taxes, how much more are they supposed to pay – 99 percent? Currently the top 1 percent of Americans earn 19 percent of the income but pay 37 percent of the income taxes. How much more is going to have to be ripped off to satisfy the president? The president always talks about “shared sacrifice”. Well if we are to engage in shared sacrifice, then we should include the federal government. While jobs in the private sector workforce has shrunk by 6.6 percent under Obama, the federal workforce has grown by 11.7 percent. With unemployment rate between 9-17 percent (depending on definition) the federal unemployment rate is only 4.4 percent which is essentially full employment. The republicans should say to the president, that revenues are not the problem and consequently are off the table. The solutions lie in spending excesses and only spending is on the table. We should put in place a plan to gradually pare down federal employment. I suggest a three percent cut in total federal employment (including the senior executive service) per year. I also suggest that total compensation for any position in the federal government not exceed the median total compensation for comparable jobs in the private sector.
Harold A. Black is professor emeritus in the Department of Finance, University of Tennessee, Knoxville having retired after 24 years of service. He has served on the faculties of American University, Howard University, the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and the University of Florida. His government service includes the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and as a Board Member of the National Credit Union Administration. He also has served on the boards of directors Home Savings of America and its parent company, H. F. Ahmanson & Co., Irwindale, California prior to its merger with Washington Mutual Savings Bank, on the board of New Century Financial Corporation, Irvine, California, then the nation’s largest real estate investment trust and as director and later chairman of the Nashville Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He writes an occasional article for the Knoxville News-Sentinel at http://www.knoxnews.com/staff/dr-harold-black/. His web page is haroldablackphd.com