The Democratic debate: Soak the rich. Yeah! that’s the ticket!

Remember how Jon Lovitz, as Tommy Flanagan, the pathological liar on Saturday Night Live, would build a narrative that was a series of lies and say, “Yeah! That’s the ticket!”?

The Democratic debate was like that.

Want something for nothing? When I’m president, you’ll get it: Tuition-free public colleges and universities; free mandatory parental leave, without burdening small businesses; $15 minimum wage with no increase in productivity; enhanced Social Security benefits; Tax cuts for middle-class families; Refinancing of federal college debt at a low interest rate; Government subsidies of Obamacare for people in the United States illegally; move America to 100% renewable energy with federal subsidies.

The Democrats offered up a grab bag of free stuff. How would they pay for it all? Hillary summed up the Democratic Party’s answer. “ I know we can afford it, because we’re going to make the wealthy pay for it,” she proclaimed.

JonLovitzSNL

Yeah! That’s the ticket!

Reminds me of Margaret Thatcher’s observation, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

The national debt stands at $18.2 trillion, up from $10.6 trillion when President Obama took office, and it is continuing to increase an average of
 $1.88 billion a day. The debt goes up when the government doesn’t get enough revenue in a given fiscal year to pay its bills. Annual federal deficits have been shrinking lately, but that pattern isn’t expected to last as the budget takes hits in the coming years.

And then, of course, the country already faces problems with covering the huge costs of entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare.

Unless we want to embrace ever-higher deficits, money would need to be found to pay for the cornucopia of benefits the Democrats promise.

Hillary Clinton said not to worry, we’ll get it from higher taxes on the wealthy. “Right now, the wealthy pay too little and the middle class pays too much,” she said in the debate.

Echoing Clinton, Lincoln Chafee chimed in that the rich are doing fine, “so there’s still a lot more money to be had from this top echelon.”

The problem is that the top-earning 1 percent of Americans (earning about $400,000 +), a pretty fluid club of individuals on a year-to-year basis, already pay almost 50 percent of federal income taxes and the top 25 percent pay about 87 percent, making the United States extraordinarily dependent on small slices of the population.

The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that high-income earners receive only pennies in federal benefits for every dollar they pay in federal taxes. In contrast, those in the middle 20 percent of earners received $2.23 in benefits for each dollar they paid and the lowest 20 percent receive close to $20 in federal benefits for every dollar they pay in federal taxes. In other words, the high-income earners are already subsidizing middle-income and low-income Americans.

“Despite the data, accusations that the rich are not paying their fair share continue,” The Manhattan Institute has reported. “This rhetoric is based more on perception than reality, or on a mistaken belief that the government needs more funds to become further entrenched in Americans’ lives. While this rhetoric may work as a populist rallying cry, the data show that a central tenet of the political left’s platform is simply incorrect.”

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