Right after Thanksgiving, President Obama gave a speech where he compared Republicans to Ebenezer Scrooge, the Dickens character who sours Christmas spirit everywhere he goes until the very end when he finally sees the error of his ways. According to Obama, Republicans are a bunch of Scrooges because in his estimation, they threaten to raise taxes for all Americans so they can protect the interests of those evil “rich” job creators. To Obama, if you’re a single person making $200,000 per year or a couple making $250,000 per year, you are in fact “rich.” You may find that surprising.
First, let’s put this in perspective. I guess compared to a lot of people living in third world countries that kind of money makes you incredibly wealthy. Then again, many “poor” people in this country are quite rich by comparison, too. I speak from experience having personally travelled to some of these places and seen some of these very unfortunate people. They live in cardboard shacks without running water and certainly without cable television, computers, or cell phones. So clearly, that’s not a fair comparison.
Many couples making a combined income of $250,000 per year have at least a couple of kids, maybe a pet, and a nice home. If they live in one of the big cities on either coast, they may manage all of this on a very tight budget. Some of them may even live paycheck to paycheck. Yes, these “rich” people could be one bad break from bankruptcy.
I’ll never forget a former colleague of mine at a law firm I worked for who shared with me her and her husband’s financial picture. After the house, the cars, private school for their kids, and all the other expenses like nice clothes to wear to work (believe me this is important–I worked with one female attorney who was called in for not wearing a professional enough wardrobe), she told me that she and her husband, who was also an attorney, had exactly $111 per month left over for “discretionary” spending. Imagine all the things those two “rich” attorneys could do with that kind of cash.
I grew up in Plano, Texas, which is a suburb of Dallas.
I love Plano. It’s a very nice place to live. It is not without it’s problems, however, and one issue people constantly bring up is the number of people who live there well above their means. My father used to do insurance construction projects in some of the biggest homes in Plano, and he would often come home and comment to us how some of the people living in those enormous homes had hardly any furniture. It fulfilled that old adage “appearances can be deceiving.” My guess is a lot of those people probably earned about $250,000 per year, but they were trying to live like millionaires.
That’s in the Dallas area where there is no state income tax and a pretty reasonable cost of living. I can’t imagine what it’s like in New York City or San Francisco. In those cities, people earning that kind of kind money probably can’t even afford to offer the pretense of wealth.
So why is President Obama so determined to raise taxes on these people in such a shaky economy? Today, House Republicans offered to raise rates on people making over $1,000,000 per year as a compromise to Obama. Personally, I don’t agree with this plan unless accompanied by tremendous real reductions in spending, but it looks like that’s what Republicans might be prepared to do. After it was offered, Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney adamantly said “no deal.” Obama ran on raising taxes on people making more than $250,000 per year, and that’s what he’s going to do. Period. The fact is, no matter what happens, these people will see their taxes go up because of Obamacare. That’s already set in stone.
So who’s the Scrooge?
If you are one of the families I’ve described above, I bet you’re having to do with less this Christmas. Despite the fact that you’re “rich,” you probably won’t be able to afford as much this Christmas and next year the family budget will be tighter too. So, what do you tell your kids when they wake up on Christmas morning?
I have an idea. It’s called Ebenezer Obama’s Christmas Coal. Drop a little piece in your kid’s stocking this year, and when Junior asks why he didn’t get something he really wanted this Christmas, just show him the coal and tell him that’s what Uncle Ebenezer Obama got him instead.
God bless us everyone!