Opinion: Biden’s budget calls for more plundering of the American taxpayer

Photo/Doug Mills/The New York Times / President Joe Biden speaks about his 2024 proposed budget at the Finishing Trades Institute in Philadelphia on Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Farmers know a thing or two about stewardship. If they don't take care of their land, eventually it will cost them their livelihoods. Unlike farmers, who work to steadily build a better future, Vikings would plunder villages, taking all they could carry before moving on to their next target.

President Joe Biden's budgets take the latter approach, going after more of the American people's hard-earned treasure every year.

Last year, his budget sought an additional $2.5 trillion in taxes beyond the $55.8 trillion in revenue that was forecast to be collected over 10 years. His latest budget is even more rapacious. The president is calling for $65.2 trillion in taxes and other revenues -- nearly $7 trillion more than his last mega-budget.

Yet even with all the extra spoils, Biden's budget would somehow manage to spend $17 trillion more than it would collect. This would shackle the American people with an additional $120,000 in federal debt per household by the end of the decade.

While the left portrays America's billionaires as a bottomless well of revenue, the government could confiscate every penny of wealth from all the billionaires on the Forbes 400 list, seizing their companies and bankrupting them overnight, and that would barely cover half of Biden's newest round of proposed tax increases. It wouldn't even cover 5% of Biden's total 10-year budget.

Clearly, all of Biden's tax hikes can't be limited to the very rich. Inevitably, they will reach every working American.

The Biden budget document repeatedly boasts it is "fiscally responsible." The truth is, it is unsustainable, and would doom the middle class to massive future tax increases.

Biden's budget would allow across-the-board tax hikes by permitting most of the Trump individual tax cuts to expire. However, the biggest raids would directly target upper- and upper-middle-income taxpayers. The collateral damage would be devastating and widespread, reducing investment, stifling entrepreneurship and leaving fewer good jobs for Americans.

Biden's proposed tax hikes on the upper middle class are a foreboding sign for the middle class. In the days of the Vikings, if a richer nearby town was hit with repeated raids, surrounding villages had even more reason to fear they could be next. Biden's raid on taxpayers would hit in several waves.

Under Biden's plan, federal taxes on wages for upper- and upper-middle-income Americans would rise from 37% to 44.6%. If they invested some of their after-tax wages in stocks, they would face a 28% tax on any profits at the corporate level (up from 21%) and up to 44.6% tax at the investor level (up from 23.8%).

And that's just the federal income taxes. Factoring in inflation and multiple layers of state and local taxes, many investors would be left with none or almost none of their investment gains after the government ransacking.

Small businesses -- and those who rely on them -- wouldn't escape the wrath of Biden's new taxes. Currently, small business active income is exempt from the net investment income tax, a surtax applied to investment income. Biden's plan would extend this tax to directly hit most small business income and would raise the surtax from 3.8% to 5%.

For too long, the president and Congress have treated taxpayers as if taxpayers serve at the pleasure of the government. This is precisely backward.

The government exists -- at the consent of the governed -- to defend us against threats to life, liberty and property, not to take our liberty and property in a less violent way.

Preston Brashers is a senior policy analyst focusing on tax policy in The Heritage Foundation's Hermann Center for the Federal Budget.

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