Despite the breathless post-election "think pieces" that have drawn sweeping and deeply considered conclusions about the political drift of the country, at its core President Obama's re-election is easy to understand. He essentially promised millions of middle and working class voters that if he were to be re-elected, they would receive benefits paid for by the rich. You don't need to read a Time Magazine cover story to untangle this political strategy. Now that he has been given a second term, Obama needs to deliver the goods by raising taxes on the rich and only the rich. He will be "asking" them to pay their "fair share," (as if "asking" and "fairness" have anything to do with it). In reality the wealthy already pay taxes at a much higher rate than average Americans and in many cases will now have to pay more than half of their income in federal, state, and local taxes.
While most people would assume that the wealthy would chafe at such a heavy burden, some affluent individuals have apparently organized spontaneously to express their willingness to help the country. In interviews and articles, these self described "Patriotic Millionaires" have implored Congress and the President to raise their taxes. They claim they can easily afford to pay a little more to save the nation from fiscal insolvency.
Conservative economists believe that an economy is most vibrant when as much money as possible is left in the private sector where it can be used for business investment and job growth. Left wing economists believe that government spending, which they term "investment," does more good. Through this lens, it's tempting to see the Patriotic Millionaires as well meaning Americans who have simply subscribed to a misguided economic philosophy. However, the reality may be far more sinister.
Daniel Berger, a spokesperson for the group, joined me last week on my radio show. Based on that highly charged and polarized discussion, it would be logical to conclude that the group is simply comprised of Democrat shills masquerading as patriots. Time and again Mr. Berger regurgitated Democratic talking points without the slightest ability to critically analyze his own positions. His goal was to simply create the impression that paying high taxes is patriotic. His hypocrisy was not hard to uncover.