Newark Mayor Cory Booker was explaining the Democratic Party platform in his comments last night at their convention.
He said it contains "significant" spending cuts and ...
"... a balanced deficit reduction plan where everyone, everyone - from elected officials to the wealthy and the super wealthy - pay their fair share. When your country is in a costly war with our soldiers sacrificing abroad and our nation is facing a debt crisis at home, being asked to pay your fair share isn’t class warfare – it’s patriotism."
Really? Now it's patriotic to pay taxes to the government?
I checked three on-line dictionaries and each one defined patriotism as love of, or devotion to, one's country. And here I thought money couldn't buy love.
Notice that he says "everyone" and even repeats it, but actually doesn't mean every person. He just talks about politicians, the wealthy and the super wealthy.
If paying taxes is patriotic, why do we let so many pay nothing at all?
According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, 46.4% of Americans paid no federal income tax for 2011. This corresponds with the right-leaning Heritage Foundation's figure of 49.% paying no federal income tax in 2009.
Note - we're only talking about federal taxes because this is the national platform for the presidential election.
TPC adds that of the 46.4%, roughly 28% do pay payroll taxes. This means that they pay Social Security withholding, Medicare withhold and income tax withholding.
Since SS and Medicare are supposed to be set-asides for future payments the individual will receive, they're not a tax that is going to support the general functions of government. (At least, they aren't supposed to be, even though politicians have raided those funds for general spending - but that a topic for another post.)
So those 28% who do have income tax withheld from their paychecks either get all of it returned to them - or more. Yes, some people end up getting more in their tax refund than they originally paid in.
So, it is accurate to say that roughly half of tax filers in recent years have paid nothing to support the general obligations of the government.
Nothing. Nada. Zilch.
How much is their "fair share"? Do they even have a 'fair share'? Surely a 'share' can't be equal to nothing - right?
If we are to believe Mayor Booker, paying your fair share is patriotic and everyone should do it.
To the dictionary, to me - and, I would hope, to 'everyone' else - the word "everyone" means every single person; all; each of us.
That's not the definition Booker is using.
He - and the Democrats - don't mean that every one of us should have some skin in the game. He just means that people who are richer should pay more than what they're paying now and the people who are paying nothing should continue to benefit.
The people who pay no federal income taxes are not helping to support the highways they travel on. They're not helping to support the military who defends them (as Booker mentions so dramatically). They're not helping to keep their food safe, their water clean and their air free from pollutants. They're not contributing to the cost of printing money, regulating banks, or even the salaries of their elected officials. They're not funding research or maintaining our national parks. They're not securing our borders or stopping drugs smugglers. They're not supporting our space efforts. They're not helping the Postal Service - and heaven knows it needs a lot of help.
To use the Democrats' own word, they're making absolutely no "investment" in their country - but they are reaping the rewards of the investments being made by others.
And, according to Booker, because they are not paying anything at all, much less their "fair share," they're unpatriotic as well.