I didn’t watch the Democratic debate the other night, but Daniel J. Mitchell had a post about one exchange about raising the capital-gains tax rate on the cato-at-liberty blog that I found really disturbing.
MR. GIBSON: And in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased. The government took in more money. And in the 1980s, when the tax was increased to 28 percent, the revenues went down. So why raise it at all, especially given the fact that 100 million people in this country own stock and would be affected?
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.
The Senator then proceeded to bash evil rich (sorry for the redundancy) people, so the moderator asked the question again:
MR. GIBSON: But history shows that when you drop the capital gains tax, the revenues go up.
SENATOR OBAMA: Well, that might happen or it might not. It depends on what’s happening on Wall Street and how business is going.
I’m not making any claims about the factual matter of which side of the Laffer curve we’re on with respect to capital-gains taxes (although, I am in favor of lowering taxes on general principle).
But, Obama didn’t even dispute the possibility that raising the tax rate could lower revenue. He wants to raise the rate even if it does lower revenue. He doesn’t just see taxation as a necessary evil to finance the programs he likes. He also sees taxation as a stick that he can use to punish the economically successful.
He calls it fairness.
I call it being an asshole.