With hard work and success to be punished by Obama administration, productive Americans scale back
It was about two weeks after my daughter was born that I learned I was accepted by my law school of choice. At that point, she still weighed in at less than six pounds having come home after spending a week in the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit, and I distinctly remember cradling her in our living room as I talked with my wife about whether or not the law school move was the right one to make.
After all, I had a fairly well-paying and stable job and, though the chance at advancement and pay increase was next to none, it allowed me plenty of time to spend with my wife and daughter. There she was, sleeping literally in the palm of my hand, and all I wanted was to spend every waking moment at her side. Law school at night would take away from that, would rob me of moments which could never be replaced. For a while, I didn’t know if I could go through with it.
What eventually swayed me was looking down at that tiny, beautiful sleeping baby girl and knowing that I could provide for her so much better with the income that would come with a law degree. It certainly wouldn’t be the easiest of roads. My time at home would certainly be limited. It would be tough; and it has been — as a father, I cannot describe how difficult it is to get that hug and smooch goodbye on those certain mornings when I know my class schedule will not break until long after she has been tucked in. “See you tomorrow” is an awfully difficult thing to say to my daughter when, every day, she’s learning new phrases, or doing new things, or just plain growing up.
The thing that keeps me going, as selfish and superficial as it may seem, is the money. Okay, not necessarily the numbers on the right side of the paycheck, but the security and safety and stability those numbers can provide. I work my ass off and make sacrifices each and every day so, down the line, I can be successful and better provide for the family that I love.
In an ABCNews piece today, Emily Friedman tells the story of a Louisiana lawyer and a Colorado physician who will be scaling back their workloads and practices in order to avoid being adversely affected by our new president’s tax plan, a plan which punishes the most successful Americans with higher tax rates and eliminated tax breaks and benefits.
“We are going to try to figure out how to make our income $249,999.00,” the lawyer said. “We have to find a way out where we can make just what we need to just under the line so we can benefit from Obama’s tax plan. Why kill yourself working if you’re going to give it all away to people who aren’t working as hard?”
And that’s even assuming that those making less than Obama’s magic number will benefit at all from the increased tax burden on those who establish and run businesses, create jobs and drive the American economy. As I look at it, each and every one of us will be paying for the added cost of doing business seen as a result of the president’s plan.
This administration’s domestic fiscal policy is a two-headed monster. On one side, it forces a reduction in productivity, causing people like the aforementioned Colorado doctor to “put thought into how to get under $250,000.” On the other side, it increases the cost of doing business for American companies and corporations, causing former stalwarts like General Motors to inject billions [of American taxpayer bailout money] into foreign markets because of the fiscal realities of doing business in America as an American automaker.
As an added bonus, companies which are forced to send jobs overseas directly as a result of increased tax and regulatory burdens will actually be subject to further tax penalties . . . for sending jobs overseas.
Plain and simple, this is exactly what happens when a government punishes people for being successful. Years ago, former President Ronald Reagan said that, “if you want less of something, tax it.” Well, here in America circa 2009, we’re taxing not only success, but also the hard work and long hours and elbow grease and personal sacrifice it takes to reach success — and we’re certainly going to see less of it all.
Getting in under $250,000 at the end of the year, according to Dr. Sharon Poczatek, the Colorado physician cited in Friedman’s article, means “working fewer days which means having fewer employees, seeing fewer patients and taking time off.” In other words, with regard to her individual practice, President Obama’s tax plan will cause an increase in joblessness and decrease in the availability of healthcare. Once again, the liberal Democrats fail to properly account for the unintended consequences of advancing their socialist ideology, consequences which may be unintended — but certainly not unforeseeable.
“Generally it means being less productive,” Dr. Poczatek said in the ABCNews piece. “The motivation for a lot of people like me – dentists, entrepreneurs, lawyers – is that the more you work the more money you make. But if I’m going to be working just to give it back to the government — it’s de-motivating and demoralizing.”
The problem inherent to Obama’s tax plan, and indeed the entire liberal ideology in general, is that these unintended but clearly foreseeable consequences reach much further than a Boulder, Colorado dentist’s office or a Louisiana law firm or even a suburban Philadelphia living room. Indeed, these consequences are felt nationwide.
We don’t make anything anymore in America. We used to build things. We used to have industry — steel, textile, technology, energy and more. But now, we don’t. Now, we are forced to watch our trade deficits increase, our labor forces decrease, or autonomy and sovereignty weaken with every added workplace regulation and tax levied against American business and industry at the hands of each passing administration, Democrat and Republican.
My goodness, look at what we are capable of! We could create anywhere between 250,000 and 750,000 jobs–not to mention the implications toward energy independence–by drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge, and many, many more jobs by actually tapping into our natural resources buried offshore. But we don’t. We forego the new jobs, the benefits of increased domestic production of natural gas and oil because of the environmental lobby, because of the workplace regulations, because of those who simply do not understand that wind and solar and biofuels will never be enough.
My goodness, look around your nearest urban center! We could harness the infrastructure, the workforce, the public transportation, and the need. Look at the empty factories, the broken windows, the existing infrastructure reminiscent of a time gone by when those buildings were filled with Americans with lunchpails rather than illegal immigrants working to send money home. The Democrats argue that our nation’s inner cities are suffering from record unemployment, yet continue to push increased tax and regulatory burdens on the very people who could change that. If these companies weren’t going to get punished for being successful, if profit were once again cheered rather than chided, perhaps we could once again see the urban centers of America as manufacturing strongholds. The bureaucrats merely need to supply the motivation, or at the very least tear down the barriers to growth.
If, instead of cozying up to reporters and speaking the supposed merits of a “global New Deal,” the president were to set up shop in the Rose Garden and explain how he would slash corporate taxes down to ten percent, cut capital gains taxes and payroll taxes in half, the markets would skyrocket. People on both Wall Street and Main Street are begging for confidence, hoping that the new leadership in Washington will provide some sort of common sense road to success for them to latch onto. Instead, we see the cost of doing business in America going up, and as a result any motivation to work hard, put in long hours and invest capital is waning.
Positive change and an end to our current economic crisis will not come about until this problem is addressed at its root, and addressed from the top. Somehow, however, I think the current Socialist In Chief, just like the so-called “compassionate conservative” before him, will not be so willing to abandon the manifestation of his ideology due to the pesky distraction of common sense.
Given this new administration’s penchant for punishing those who sacrifice and work hard in America, however, perhaps I should have just stayed home rather than go back to school.
I could have been there when my daughter rolled over. I could have been there when she looked as though she had a strained-pea facial during her first foray into the world of solid food. I could have been there to tuck her in every night, rather than settle for the wonderful but heartbreaking “I love you too, daddy” over the mobile phone during the ten-minute break between a pair of night classes.
For sure, I’ll go on. I finish school in fourteen short months. How many people much more talented than I, however, will be unwilling to get into law, or business, or medicine because our own federal government punishes success? When does it not become worth it to invent, to research, to pull the long hours so well known by so many small business owners in America? At a time when we need ingenuity and growth and success, this administration is doing nothing more than encouraging people to merely aspire to mediocrity. And that’s fine, if you want mediocrity. That’s fine, if you want France.
I don’t. I want greatness. And America, as a nation, is as great as it gets, but she is capable of both greatness and boundless prosperity if only the people in charge would loosen the shackles, remove the encumbrances, and let her free.