Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 17, 2013

Obama and taxing the rich, and another deadly school shooting


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Running for re-election in 2012, President Barack Obama claimed, “The rich are not paying their fair share of income taxes.” Playing to the baser instincts of voters is a tried and true technique, and if Mr. Obama does nothing else very well, he is a master at dividing people from one another and creating class discord.

However, so much of what the president says just ain’t so, as we have seen so dramatically and with such terrible consequences with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Mr. Obama’s signature legislative initiative. He is so closely related to this fiasco and has invested so much political capital in it that the ACA is now routinely called by his name.

However, Mr. Obama’s effort to tar and feather the rich as being stingy taxpayers falls on its face in a new study released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

The CBO study, “The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes, 2010,” shows that the top 40 percent of households, as determined by pre-tax income, paid 106.2 percent of the nation’s income tax in 2010.

How can any group of Americans, or even all Americans together, pay more than all of the income taxes received? Read on.

The study also showed that the lowest 40 percent of households paid “negative income tax,” meaning that they paid no federal income tax, but instead received on average $18,950 in government transfer payments. Within this group the CBO said that the lowest fifth of income earners paid an individual income tax rate of minus 9.2 percent, and the second lowest group paid minus 2.3 percent.

Presumably, Mr. Obama would like the “rich” to pay not just “all of the income taxes,” and not just “more than all the income taxes,” but still more than that.

The study shows that the redistribution of wealth that Mr. Obama and his progressive cronies so strongly favor is well underway. But, of course, it still isn’t enough, and won’t be enough until everyone shares equally in the misery, because in their quest for the unachievable goal of financial equality, the progressives will have made it impossible for hard working Americans to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and will dampen the enthusiasm for earning, causing a collapse of the system.

In other news, as the nation observed the passage of one year since the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults, another school was in the news over an incident involving another young person determined to hurt innocent people.

Upset with the debate team sponsor and librarian at Arapahoe High School in a Denver, Colo., suburb who had disciplined him recently, the high school senior wearing a backpack with three Molotov cocktails inside it, a bandolier and carrying a pump-action shotgun entered the school and headed for the library.

The librarian got a warning and left the building. In this rampage the shooter fired five shots, two randomly down hallways that hit no one, and one more random shot that claimed no victims, but two other shots that each injured one student, one of them critically. He also set off one of the Molotov cocktails in the library that fortunately injured no one. And then he killed himself.

The rampage might have resulted in many more casualties had it not been for the quick response of a deputy sheriff who was working as a school resource officer, Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson told CNN. He praised the deputy’s response as “a critical element to the shooter’s decision” to kill himself, and lauded his response to hearing gunshots. “He went to the thunder,” he said. “He heard the noise of gunshot and, when many would run away from it, he ran toward it to make other people safe.”

A student who had a class with the alleged shooter told The Denver Post that, “He had very strong beliefs about gun laws and stuff.” The classmate added that she had heard that he was bullied a lot.

The alleged shooter described himself on Facebook as “Keynesian,” one advocating government monetary and fiscal programs, and also attacked Republicans: “You republicans are so cute,” he wrote, and posted an image that read: “The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ’em Die, Climate Change: Let ’em Die, Gun Violence: Let ’em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ’em Die, More War: Let ’em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?”

Two other students told The Post, “He had political views that were ‘outside the mainstream.’”

We must not ignore the message from Sheriff Robinson that he clearly believes the presence of an armed and trained individual at Arapahoe High School, and the shooter’s knowledge of that person’s presence, had a positive influence on this situation.

Making schools and other public buildings “gun-free zones” means no opposing force will be there when a criminal carrying a weapon shows up.

As we have seen at Sandy Hook and other places, this is a prescription for carnage and pain, whereas at Arapahoe High School, the county sheriff thinks the presence of an armed resource person prevented even more death, pain and suffering.

James H. “Smokey” Shott, a resident of Bluefield, Va., is a Daily Telegraph columnist.