I've seen some people seething over the potential extension of the so-called "Bush tax cuts." The crux of their anger seems to be the mistaken belief this extension is nothing more than a tax cut for millionaires. Unfortunately, there are a couple of problems with this interpretation of legislative and economic reality. First, this extension is not confined to millionaires. In fact, it spares all Americans from a potentially crippling tax hike hitting in the middle of a recessionary period. To imply that this extension is aimed solely at millionaires is simply disingenuous.
Second, this extension is not a tax cut. It simply maintains the current tax rate across the board, rather than implementing tax hikes. In essence, it's a tax freeze, and no more a tax cut than a spending freeze is a spending cut. No one is about to see their taxes decrease as a result of this extension, millionaires included.
So why all the fuss? If the status quo is being maintained, if no one is seeing their taxes increase, if no one's share of the pie is about to devoured, then why are some people so upset about this development?
It can't be because they feel the need to raise revenue for the government. After all, this government has not only embraced deficit spending, it's courted, married, and settled down in the suburbs with it. The government has spent far, far more than it could ever hope to raise by taxing the rich, so why bother?
It can't be because they think that raising taxes on revenue generators will spark an economic recovery. Tax hikes by their very nature discourage investment and curb the prospects of an economic recovery. Anyone who claims that raising taxes will inspire growth has failed to conceptually understand growth.
In fact, there's only one way to justify rage over the absence of a tax hike: class warfare. Some people, convinced of the inherent immorality of the economically successful, are continually searching for ways to punish them in the name of "fairness." To them, just as the absence of a tax hike is a tax cut, so too is the absence of punishment a reward.
The campaign against the "tax cuts for millionaires" is just another chapter in an old story, in which government attempts to wrest influence from the market in order to impose its own vision of fairness on us all.