Taking Earned Money is Different than Earning Money

Charles Payne
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Posted: Apr 15, 2012 12:01 AM

I'm your boogie man that's what I am
I'm here to do whatever I can
Be it early mornin' late afternoon
Or at midnight it's never too soon
—KC & Sunshine Band

"I'm Your Boogieman" was the 11th top hit of 1977, a year that saw massive tumult in America, especially in New York City, which experienced daily fears of violence, the Son of Sam, and the Blackout. There was a time when boogieman was the dark monster that lived under your bed or in your closet, but in the disco era, it became the guy that put that pep in your step and made life fun. For all the talk that the current period in America is worse than any since the Great Depression, I submit the 1970s, when misery was a million times greater. That said whenever there was a chance to get something for nothing most people did so.

I've told the story many times, but I have to mention it again because it points to notions of entitlement, greed, and mob behavior. The blackout in the summer of 1977 saw mass looting all over New York, and no neighborhood in Manhattan was hit harder than mine. Walking to the corner moments after the lights went out, I witnessed a group of guys tugging at a metal gate that covered a jewelry store. The cry went out, "everybody pull … everybody get something" and so there was a mass effort that did dislodge the gate. The store was given the bum's rush, and within minutes everything was gone.

Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and there is a cry going out that says "everybody pull the lever and everybody will get something." Instead of the corner jewelry store, the new targets are people earning more than one million dollars a year. In my neighborhood, people were poor, so taking from a "rich" jeweler didn't feel wrong on any level. Of course growing up poor and only hearing how all rich people got there through inheritance and theft, it just felt right to take things that fell off a truck or in this case from a broken storefront window. But, you grow up and you learn better. You grow up and learn to respect how 80% of millionaires are self-made in this nation. You want to preserve that for future generations including your own children.

By the way, my mother wouldn't let me join my friends in what was Christmas in July. I watched people getting things like watches and boom boxes from a window. I didn't see it as looting, just a great opportunity. I didn't see victims, just rich businesses that had so much money it didn't matter anyway. I didn't see those people that opened those gates before most people on the block got up in the morning and worked so late while most were going to bed at night. I didn't see where it would do any harm. Thank goodness my mother did.

Everybody Will Get Something

To wanna please you to wanna please you
To wanna do it all all for you
I wanna be your be your rubber ball
I wanna be the one ya love most of all - oh yeah

President Obama is saying I'm your boogieman, and if voters give him the power he'll make sure they all get something. That's what all the pressing for the so-called Buffett Rule is all about. When we hear about fair share and what could be done with money confiscated from millionaires, it sounds like that guy leading the looters on that fateful night. This money is not going to lower the deficit, curb spending (it actually will encourage more spending and more programs like TARP which exist now as the personal piggy bank of the White House) or magically create jobs.

"The Buffett Rule would create up to $32 MILLION in tax revenue from just one millionaire. Find out exactly how that money could make a difference on issues that affect us all."

President Obama suggests on his website that taking money earned by millionaires will benefit a myriad of people/voting blocs:

> Students-aid
> Public Safety Employees-jobs and safety for communities
> Senior's Economic Security-savings for seniors
> Teachers-teachers in classrooms
> Reducing the Deficit-fiscal responsibility
> Veterans-support for veterans

There is no way the Buffett Tax will do anything meaningful for any of the above, but instead the money would go into money-losing solar projects or other rat holes that are sucking up billions of taxpayer dollars. The numbers have been crunched and the Buffett Rule might bring in $64.0 billion over a decade while the deficit increases another $7.0 trillion. Still, the lure of free money and assuaging jealousy will ring true for too many people. On Varney and Co yesterday we discussed advertising for Earned Income Tax Credit which essentially pays people earning less than $49,000 because they're earning less than $49,000.

How many people are going to put it in park? Why work late and actually jeopardize up to $5,300 a year when the government is forking over the money because "you deserve it." Just think, we punish hard workers, risk takers and innovators, but if you don't lift your financial station in life, you deserve a cut of the check of those people that did put in the overtime. The campaign says that being rich is bad and must be punishable through confiscation of earnings. To bring up how nuts this push for the federal government to snatch all the money earned through hard work and risk-taking, we should take a look at China.

In China, communist leaders are pushing back against a movement that would abandon recently capitalistic trends that have made the nation the hottest economy on the planet. It's crazy, but the leaders of China are fighting for the ability of people to become rich while in America there is a movement to limit upside economic opportunities and punish the rich. What the heck is going on?

I'm really wondering if, President Obama speaks about the rewards from this plan to confiscate more earnings from successful people, he doesn't toss into the list stuff we can get from robbing the earnings of the rich, things like a new car, plus all the Apple products, plus a shopping spree at the local mall, plus renovated kitchens.

What's truly amazing is while President Obama was pumping up the kids down in Boca, he was pitching a plan that has sunk Europe to the point it will never see its past glory. Italy's stock market was off 5% and Spain is beginning to teeter. Taking from productive citizens to reward those not living up to potential or who took shortcuts is nasty and mean. I know so many people with that mindset have never worked as hard as I do and even say they feel sorry for me. I'm fine with that, but they deserve no more bites at my paycheck.

Here's the real sin about all of these "fair" and "share the wealth" lies - they hurt the poor more than they help. It creates ghettos that are physical and mental. It sucks out desire to work and dashes dreams as out of reach. The rhetoric provides cover and enables excuses for not getting in the mix and trying to be productive.