Charles Payne

It turns out Mitt Romney paid $6.2 million in taxes in the latest year between federal and local taxes and I say bravo for him that sounds fair as hell to me. Really, just think for a moment and ask yourself does anyone get $6.2 million a year in services from the government? This past weekend is a perfect example. A nature preserve sits right behind my house, which is great because it's like having a giant backyard with deer, foxes, and occasional eagles. I worry about those giant trees that lean toward the house in such an ominous way it's only a matter of time before I'll need major roof repair work. But it's a good deal for me.

This past Saturday we got the first snow storm of the season and my snow-blower is packed behind all kinds of stuff like bicycles in the garage, so I broke out the shovel. The corner house is cool most of the time except when you have to remove snow. Not only is it a long haul but those giant plows often push mountains of snow down the hill and back into my driveway. Be that as it may, I began shoveling and felt great as I worked up a healthy sweat. I get around the corner and come to the end of the sidewalk where it is snow-free. That was the invisible line that indicated where the nature preserve ended and my property began.

I paused and wonder why the hell they couldn't take that machine used to remove the snow and simply keep going down to the end. It would have been easy as pie and saved me some time. Our taxes in New Jersey are among the highest in the country (see table), and my town layers it on pretty good as well. Still, I send my son to a school outside the town and wonder where the money goes. I also wonder how many people in my town are unemployed, and if that social contract Elizabeth Warren is always talking about means they should help taxpayers shovel on a Saturday afternoon.

Tonight we are going to hear how people paying the overwhelming majority of taxes are bad people while those overwhelmingly sucking up the benefits are good, would-be hard workers that are victims of the successful.

I think Mitt should stand up and say if you didn't pay $6.2 million in taxes then get the funk out my face! If you dropped out of high school and sit around passing a joint with a bunch of buddies, but think somehow America let you down, then get the funk out my face. If you paid no federal income taxes, then get the funk out my face!

Higher Taxes Don't Work

There's an old adage that says "it's not how much you make; it's how much you keep." As a rich nation that's run up its national credit card to unsustainable levels, we must consider that at some point the answer will be to cut spending for a while to achieve some kind of fiscal equilibrium. Nations in Europe are grappling with austerity measures and higher taxes to get back to a point where they can grow their economies. In America, where the welfare state rages on, there will not be talk of sacrifice across the board but instead making the rich pay more. This is a huge mistake since the central issue of runaway spending and skyrocketing debt would continue, maybe even speed up, under the illusion the rich could pick up the tab.

The state of Illinois decided last year to fix its problems by hiking taxes. The hike carried the state into the top ten highest taxed based on 2009 data from the Tax Foundation. Last week marked the one year anniversary of those tax hikes.

Personal hiked to 5% from flat 3%
Corporate hiked to 7% from 4.8%

Small businesses were caught in the personal tax hike, and businesses in general took a serious hit. The state's deficit is still $8.5 billion and unemployment 11.0%. The state, which is a forced union state, had already seen a withering exodus due to the extreme tax and regulation culture. The Illinois policy Institute revealed the state lost one resident every 10 minutes over the past fifteen years. Since last year's tax hike 60,000 residents have moved out. Polls reflect major disappointment and distrust. 78% say the state economy isn't better off than a year ago, and 68% doubt the state was using the extra revenue responsibly.

The major problem for Illinois is government workers that have become a favored class. The top ten states with higher tax burdens all have in common that they are states with forced union policies. In Illinois 14,866 teachers made over $100,000 last year, including a gym teacher that pocketed $203,154. This morning it was revealed that Illinois has gotten the green light from the federal government to tax nursing home beds in order to raise $100.0 million for Medicaid which is woefully underfunded in most states already but will be drowned when the new healthcare law kicks in.

SOTU

Here's what President Obama is going to try to get across tonight. Somehow a person that pays $6.2 million is a villain while people that pay no federal taxes are victims. But this is deeper than that and those that take the income inequality bait should understand your pain and envy is being used as a shield for government to get larger and more dominant in public life. When President Obama talks about "collective" it will be suggested that someone making $1.0 million a year is making too much and should be taxed so that the person making $40,000 can be lifted higher. It matters not how the monies are earned. It matters not the sacrifices made by the former. It matters not if the latter dropped out of school or simply made a choice not to work hard enough to climb the ladder.

The era of making "good" money from low-skilled jobs is over. Tonight President Obama will try to bring it back through social-economic engineering. It means taking money from corporation bottom lines and redistributing it to workers with the lowest skill-set and that ultimately means taking from more important employees. In order to do this and bypass the Constitution we are going to hear the tag line "we can't wait" which is code for help me usurp Congress and states' rights more while we can. Help me by grabbing pitchforks (heck my unemployed neighbors didn't even pick up a damn shovel to help me) and torches while I push through czars and programs that bypass traditional rules of engagement.

The big mistake is telling the American public we don't have to engage in tougher curriculums and focus on areas that will drive innovation and power in the new world. Playing up the role of government as some kind of make-it-fair machine that punishes those that go the extra mile(s) while rewarding those that do not sets the nation on a course for mediocrity, substantially more debt and true second-class citizenry at some point in the near future. There is only one way to grow into the next level of greatness and that's to promote real greatness, allow risk-takers to cash in just as they are allowed to fail, and stop making excuses for those not up to snuff.

By the way I say we hear "fair" in various forms more than 15 times tonight.

The Market

Three months ago the market came to life in what I called the "Dirty Finger Nails Rally" that represented the core of this nation. Overnight we are reminded that while the core of this nation and global growth mean moving earth, the future means moving information over the Internet. Overnight tech earnings blew them away including results from WDC, VMW, TXN, and PLCM.


Charles Payne

Charles V. Payne is a regular contributor to the Fox Business and Fox News Networks. He is also the Chief Executive Officer and Principle Analyst of Wall Street Strategies, Inc. (WSSI), founded in 1991 which provides subscription analytical services to both individual and institutional investors.