FROM POLITICS DAILY:
Rule No. 1 when considering taxes: Other people should pay them. That's a big selling point for the health care surtax that House Democrats would impose on the wealthy to provide coverage for nearly everyone. Most of us aren't rich -- let them pay.
There's another rule: Taxes are an expression of social policy. Our society is being crushed by a system that is protecting fewer and fewer of us and costing more and more to do it. The newly unveiled proposal would take more from those with a lot in order to protect those without (health care in this case).
You didn't think those were the only rules, did you? How about the one where tax policy is supposed to promote economic growth? Now that's where we'll hear much of the uproar.
Opponents will argue that taking away profits also takes away the incentive for creativity and risk. Innovation and jobs follow the money.
They will quickly point out that the hardest hit would be small entrepreneurs, who struggle to stay afloat despite looking prosperous on paper. That's because they combine their business and personal income when filing with the IRS. It artificially puts them in a higher bracket and now could place them in surtax land.
One question: Could they separate their returns? Obviously, the reason they don't is their accountants correctly tell them that's how to maximize deductions. Congress probably should address that in order to avoid another alternative minimum tax debacle and make sure a wealth tax is really charged to the wealthy.
The counter-argument is that growth is stifled when such a large segment of the population can't count on medical treatment. And that those who are the most economically healthy have to share the wealth to share the health.
Some will complain that this is a "soak the rich" policy, and let's give them that one. The question is: Should they take a little bath to prevent everyone else from drowning?
President Obama likes this idea; Republicans don't. They will deride it as another Robin Hood scheme. Democrats will probably be too timid to point out that for a long time our system has been Hood Robin, allowing the rich to take from the poor. They have the resources -- translate: money -- to hire the lobbyists and buy the TV ads. They control the agenda.
So that brings us to the most important rule about a tax law: Congress has to pass it. That one is easy. It ain't gonna happen.