Warner Todd Huston
CBS' Bob Schieffer, class warrior: hey, I know. Let's soak the rich!
By Warner Todd Huston
April 20, 2011

If there was any doubt about how hostile the Old Media is toward tax cuts, spending cuts, and making government accountable and Constitutionally justifiable, CBS' Bob Schieffer is happy to dispel that doubt. On the April 17 episode of Face the Nation, Schieffer asked Congressman Paul Ryan (R, WS) why we can't just soak the rich to solve our budget problems.

In a discussion with Rep. Ryan, the GOP's go-to budget guy, Schieffer expressed his shock that government doesn't just tax the bejeebus out of "the wealthiest Americans." Schieffer was aghast at how the GOP is "reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay" and asked Ryan if he, Schieffer, is "misinformed" about the whole tax cut issue.

Ryan was kind not to point out that Schieffer is, indeed, "misinformed"... as usual.

But, perhaps Schieffer isn't merely misinformed. Perhaps he is ideologically blinded? His comments seem to prove that he is.

"You have two very different approaches that are now out there, Schieffer said to Ryan. "The President wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans... and you actually want to lower taxes on the wealthy, even lower than the Bush tax cuts which were enacted during the Bush administration... why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they're already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?" (See video at the CBS website or see transcript)

This fits well with the left's constant hate-the-rich-hate-the-rich class warfare drumbeat. After all, Schieffer is only following the lead of a president who once arrogantly said, "I do think at a certain point you've made enough money."

Ryan went on to correct Schieffer's misconception about what his plan does.

    First of all we're not talking about cutting taxes. We're just not agreeing with the President's tax increases. I guess that's the new definition of tax cuts. We're saying keep tax rates where they are right now. Get rid of all those loopholes and deductions, which by the way, are mostly enjoyed by wealthy people so you can lower tax rates.

This, Ryan explained, even fits with the recommendations from Obama's own fiscal commission, recommendations that Democrats supported only a year ago.

Schieffer was having none of it, though. The aging newser insisted that soaking the rich would solve everything.

    I guess the part that I don't quite understand — and I take your proposal to be a serious one — but the part I don't understand is if the country is going bankrupt, if the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would be seem to me that's where you get revenue. How do you justify that?

You have to hear the exasperation in Schieffer's voice. Once you do you'll understand that he isn't just being a good journalist forcing the hard questions on his subject. He truly believes the class warfare pap he is spewing. It is clear that Schieffer is wholly blinded to the simple fact that government is illicitly spending many times more than it takes in and that the solution is neither "borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that it spends" nor hiking taxes to soak the rich. It is telling that cutting federal spending seemed to be a concept that Schieffer rejected outright as a possible solution to what ails our federal budget.

As I said, this all fits with the class warfare agenda of the left. In fact, it can be phrased as a moral argument. This excerpt from Slaying Leviathan: The Moral Case for Tax Reform by Leslie Carbone helps draw that distinction.

    The progressive tax system is based on envy, the "resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage". ... the modern U.S. tax code was imposed in response to so-called progressives agitating against the natural inequality in wealth distribution. Basing public policy on envy teaches people to nurture their natural tendency toward this vice, instead of to resist and rise above it. It encourages everyone to think himself a victim and perpetuates resentment because there will always be something to envy.

If that isn't a perfect explication of the left's class warfare agenda, what is? And if this episode of Face the Nation is any indication, Bob Schieffer is pleased to be a vehement class warrior hoping to keep the green monster of envy roiling us all.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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