Mortimer Zuckerman, who supported the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, writes in today's Wall Street Journal that the crisis facing the Obama Presidency is one of competency and the absence of leadership. I thought Mr. Zuckerman's critique of the President's advocacy of "taxing millionaires and billionaires" was particularly biting and cogent, coming as it does from an advocate of higher taxes:
He made the politically tested and calculated statement that if you raise taxes on billionaires and millionaires you could solve the problem. This is not so. Even for those who support higher taxes on the wealthy, as I do, we must remember that we have an income tax system in which fully half the "taxpayers" pay no tax at all, and in which the variety of loopholes cries out for a real reform of the tax code. Even if the government instituted a 100% tax on both corporate profits and personal incomes above $250,000 per year, it would yield enough revenue to run the government for only six months. Why? Because under Mr. Obama's presidency, government spending has swelled to 24% of GDP from 18%.
Mr. Zuckerman goes on to advocate a real reform of the tax code that asks everyone to make some contribution, but at the same time eliminates loopholes and special allowances.