The White House admits that its proposed “Buffett rule” (a tax hike on millionaires, defeated — for now — in the Senate) is not intended to generate revenue or reduce the debt. In fact, the Buffett rule would actually reduce revenue and add $793 billion to the debt.

So why do it? Spite. Barack Obama has made this clear since his presidential campaign, when he said he would be willing to sacrifice revenue in order to hurt investors.

Of course, he calls it “fairness”. As if a policy that hurts someone and helps no one could possibly be fair. I’ll let Frank J give this notion the respect it deserves:

That’s not what the Buffett Rule is about; actually doing anything even slightly useful is far beyond your wildest dreams. This is just about “fairness”. Because when people don’t have a job and can’t afford basic necessities, fairness is what we’re all most worried about. “Don’t worry, honey, we’ll feed our family on fairness.” “We don’t have to worry about retirement; we have a 401k filled with fairness.”

POSTSCRIPT: Yes, I realize that the bill would also protect some people from being hit by the AMT, and that constitutes helping someone. But that’s just legislative vote-buying. Obama has specifically endorsed, as “fairness”, the notion of hurting someone to help no one.

Moreover, the AMT is a good case in point. It was designed to hit a very small number of taxpayers (about 30, if memory serves), which is probably narrower than the Buffett rule. But over time it has grown to hit millions. The Buffett rule would do the same.

One Response to Spite

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