Both Clinton and Obama have, as an opening bid, a two trillion dollar tax hike-they promise to allow the Bush tax cuts to lapse. If either is elected president the capital gains tax will snap back to 20 percent from 15 percent. The tax on dividends will jump from 15 percent to 35 percent. The top rate on individual income will jump from 35 to 39.5 percent.
Obama has suggested that Americans won't mind paying more taxes. He even promises his good friend Warren Buffet will be first in line. If he really believes that, then he might have the federal government do what six states do now: establish a "tax me more" account. In Massachusetts, for instance, you can choose to send the state extra money if you feel the government spends your money more wisely than you do. Obama's friends who don't mind paying more taxes are free to do so.
In fact they could start now by paying a 20 percent capital gains tax rate and not wait for the year 2011. Buffet could start with his own holdings and suggest the same for his investors.
We know that Warren Buffet wants you to pay the government more-but he does not wish to follow his own advice. On the death tax, Buffet wants you to pay 55 percent on all life savings above one million dollars. However he will not be sending the feds 55 percent of his savings; he's setting up a foundation to keep his lovely money out of the hands of the government and put it into his friends' hands. Your life savings will be sent to the IRS.
Obama or Clinton could themselves begin paying the pre-Bush tax rates anytime they want to. Yet they didn't after the 2001 and 2003 tax-rate cuts. We already know who the hypocrites are in this race.
Grover G. Norquist is the president of Americans for Tax Reform.