Questions about the FairTax plan

Today we continue to address some of the more common misinformation and misconceptions regarding the FairTax plan. Where does all this misinformation come from and why do people continue to spread it without confirmation or even question? Perhaps the real question should be why would anyone want to continue to disseminate erroneous information when it can be so easily checked out.

“The Fair Tax eliminates various government services, Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment, etc.”

The FairTax plan has nothing to do with government services. Not only does it not eliminate Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment, etc. or any other of our current entitlement programs it does in fact fully fund these programs. The only thing that changes under the FairTax plan is the manner in which federal taxes are collected. Instead of paying taxes on every dollar we earn, we pay taxes on the dollars we spend. The FairTax is intended to be revenue neutral, meaning that it simply replaces dollar for dollar our current federal tax revenue. It just does it in a simple, fair and transparent manner.

So, under the FairTax plan Granny keeps getting her Social Security check every month and she continues to enjoy the protection of Medicare. The only change most of us will see is that we no longer have to spend hours or days preparing our income tax return because, whoops, there is no tax on income. We no longer have to save every receipt in hopes of a tax deduction. Our accountant is free to actually help us plan our financial future rather than spending most of their highly paid time on tax preparation. And, April 15 becomes just another beautiful Spring day.

“Anyone near a Canadian or Mexican border will go there to buy everything.”

This is commonly known as the “Over the border” argument.

The prices we are currently paying for goods and services include approximately 22% in embedded taxes. These are the income taxes that must be paid by every hand that touches these products and services from the producer to the consumer. Under the FairTax plan these embedded taxes no longer exist so the cost of production drops by approximately 22%. Then, the FairTax, of 23%, is added at the final retail consumer level bringing the cost of the product or service back to its original price. If the prices are going to remain virtually the same why would anyone race across the border to purchase goods and services? And, if they would, why aren’t they doing it now?

“People will take all their money out of the country.”

Again, this logic is assbackwards. People and companies have taken their money out of the country because of our current income tax system. There are billions, probably trillions, of dollars belonging to American citizens and companies sitting in banks all over the world because under our current system it would be worth half or less simply by bringing it back into the country. Under the FairTax plan there would be no tax or penalty on that money until and unless it is spent at the retail level. So, our citizens and our companies would instead race to bring it back into America and put it to work creating jobs and earning even more money.

“50 million tourists can’t spend enough to support 300 million citizens.”

Arguably, the greatest benefit of the FairTax plan is that it increases the tax base. The fact that millions of tourists will be contributing to our federal tax coffers is a bonus in increasing that tax base. Tourist spending is not intended to replace taxpayer contributions, but to add to it. By increasing the number of people paying taxes the tax burden is spread more evenly and lightly upon all, like a fine layer of smooth peanut butter on bread.

“If new homes are taxed but exisiting homes are not, people will stop buying and building new homes.”

An obvious assumption but a little research shows why this would not happen. Yes, the FairTax will be added to the final price of a new home. But, remember that the FairTax eliminates all the embedded taxes associated with the production of that home. And, existing home prices still contain those embedded tax costs. Take this combined with the fact that under the FairTax capital gains taxes are no longer a concern when selling a home, and that the dollars used to purchase a home have not been previously taxed and there is actually no incentive to buy an existing home rather than a new one. And finally, there is a finite number of existing homes. As people are better enabled to save the down payment and more people move toward home ownership the supply of existing homes will naturally decrease and as new homes are more affordable due to the lack of embedded taxes there will be an equilibrium reached between the two.

One final thought: Change is a fearful thing and the idea of the FairTax plan seems like a big change. In reality, it’s not. It merely changes the manner in which we pay and collect taxes. Those who truly should, and do, fear the FairTax plan are those in political power. The FairTax plan returns the power and control to the people of this country. Let us not forget that less than a hundred years ago we had no tax on income in this country. The income tax is a relatively modern innovation that simply does not work. It provides for government bureaucracies to control the purse strings of the nation, and thus to control the people. The FairTax plan reverses this situation and places the power of the purse with the people.

Cordially yours,

Tim

The time for tax reform is now

President Obama is right about one thing; it is time to reform our federal tax system. And, the only system that makes sense for America is the FairTax plan.

What is the FairTax plan?

The FairTax plan is a comprehensive proposal that replaces all federal income and payroll based taxes with an integrated approach including a progressive national retail sales tax, a prebate to ensure no American pays federal taxes on spending up to the poverty level, dollar-for-dollar federal revenue neutrality, and, through companion legislation, the repeal of the 16th Amendment.

The FairTax Act (HR 25, S 296) is nonpartisan legislation. It abolishes all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, and self-employment taxes and replaces them with one simple, visible, federal retail sales tax administered primarily by existing state sales tax authorities.

The FairTax taxes us only on what we choose to spend on new goods or services, not on what we earn. The FairTax is a fair, efficient, transparent, and intelligent solution to the frustration and inequity of our current tax system.

The FairTax:

  • Enables workers to keep their entire paychecks
  • Enables retirees to keep their entire pensions
  • Refunds in advance the tax on purchases of basic necessities
  • Allows American products to compete fairly
  • Brings transparency and accountability to tax policy
  • Ensures Social Security and Medicare funding
  • Closes all loopholes and brings fairness to taxation
  • Abolishes the IRS

Americans for Fair Taxation, “www.fairtax.org,” offers a library of information about the features and benefits of the FairTax plan. Please explore it!

Jack Goodman ‘gets’ FairTax

Jack Goodman is another popular candidate for the Missouri District 7 Congressional seat, so I decided to take a look at his position on the FairTax plan.

The Web site for Mr. Goodman’s candidacy, www.JackGoodman.org, does not specifically address the issue of tax reform. Nor have I seen his position on tax reform stated in any printed materials. So, I made a call to the number listed on the Web site and asked. I was told that Mr. Goodman does indeed support the FairTax plan, and that if elected he would not only support it but would work to promote it as a U.S. Congressman.

In an interview conducted by KY3 News on July 19, 2010, Mr. Goodman had this to say when asked about his view of the FairTax initiative:
“I support the FairTax with minor modification and think the economic potential is tremendous, especially if we are able to pass a federal version.  In 2009, I was the Senate handler for Missouri’s version of the FairTax. The FairTax is transparent, eliminating the hidden layers of imbedded taxation in the retail price of products.  It also forces those who currently evade taxation to pay their share, such as drug dealers, illegal aliens and those in organized crime.  The Fair Tax would also be a huge incentive to bring manufacturing jobs back to America.”

While I would have liked to see a more demonstrative statement of his support of the FairTax plan in his candidacy materials I have to conclude that Jack Goodman is certainly worthy of consideration for the Missouri District 7 seat. I’ll leave you to evaluate his position on other issues, but as for the FairTax plan I believe he, ‘gets it.’

FairTax Bill Summary

The FairTax is the popular name that has come to represent two actual bills that have been introduced into Congress: H.R.25 and S.296. Below is the summary provided by the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. It’s basically a mile high view of the bill, but it’s a good place to start.

SUMMARY AS OF:
1/22/2009–Introduced.

Fair Tax Act of 2009 – Repeals the income tax, employment tax, and estate and gift tax. Redesignates the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as the Internal Revenue Code of 2009.

Imposes a national sales tax on the use or consumption in the United States of taxable property or services. Sets the sales tax rate at 23% in 2011, with adjustments to the rate in subsequent years. Allows exemptions from the tax for property or services purchased for business, export, or investment purposes, and for state government functions.

Sets forth rules relating to: (1) the collection and remittance of the sales tax; and (2) credits and refunds. Allows a monthly sales tax rebate for families meeting certain size and income requirements.

Grants states the primary authority for the collection of sales tax revenues and the remittance of such revenues to the Treasury. Sets forth administrative provisions relating to: (1) the filing of monthly reports and payments of tax; (2) accounting methods; (3) registration of sellers of goods and services responsible for reporting sales; (4) penalties for noncompliance; and (5) collections, appeals, and taxpayer rights.

Directs the Secretary of the Treasury to allocate sales tax revenues among: (1) the general revenue; (2) the old-age and survivors insurance trust fund; (3) the disability insurance trust fund; (4) the hospital insurance trust fund; and (5) the federal supplementary medical insurance trust fund.

Prohibits the funding of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) after FY2013. Establishes in the Department of the Treasury: (1) an Excise Tax Bureau to administer excise taxes not administered by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF); and (2) a Sales Tax Bureau to administer the national sales tax.

Terminates the sales tax imposed by this Act if the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (authorizing an income tax) is not repealed within seven years after the enactment of this Act.

As you can see this is the briefest of overviews of what the bill actually calls for, but we’re going to take the bill one tasty morsel at a time, chew it, digest it and analyze it for ourselves. Along the way we’ll also take a look at the criticisms and claims of those on both sides of the issue, and hopefully we can bring you reasoned input from both sides.

No, the FairTax is not a perfect plan. No tax system ever will be. But, it is fair; it makes sense; and, it is transparent. It is the catalyst that will change the direction of our Country and enable us to regain the path to prosperity.

Billy Long weak on FairTax

The Congressional race for the Missouri District 7, U.S. Representative seat is wide open with eight Republican and two Democrat candidates competing in the upcoming primary. There is no incumbent in this race as Congressman Roy Blunt is making a bid for the Senate seat of Senator Kit Bond. So, the question is where do these candidates stand on the FairTax?

Billy Long seems to be leading the pack of the Republican candidates so I decided to take a look at his position first. Mr. Long seems like a strong candidate in most respects, but unfortunately when it comes to the FairTax his position is a little weak and muddled. In his ads online and in print he indicates that he is in favor of “Fair Tax” (with the space between the two words). There’s a big difference between “Fair Tax” and the FairTax plan. Everyone claims to be in favor of “Fair Tax.” That is not specific support of the FairTax plan. In fact, Mr. Long’s stance on the issue of taxes states, “Billy is open to either a flat tax or a fair tax as a way to fix our tax system.”

This is like saying, “I’d be happy to take more poison or the antidote as a way to recovery.” The tax on income is the fundamental problem, and no amount of tinkering with it is going to fix it. Mr. Long’s openness to a flat tax indicates that he either doesn’t truly understand the problem, or he wants to ride the wave of support for the FairTax into a Congressional office.

I placed a call to the offices of ‘Billy Long for Congress’ to confirm his position on the issue, and was told that although his first choice would be the FairTax he is also open to a flat tax on income because of the difficulty of getting the FairTax passed. I’m sorry, but this is exactly the kind of wishy-washy stance we do not need in Washington.

There is no ‘either, or’ in the issue of tax reform. This Country will crumble under the weight and corruption of the income tax system, and we need representatives that understand that and are eager to fight for a new future. Accepting more of the same just because something is better than nothing isn’t going to cut it any longer. The only solution to our Country’s fiscal woes is to rid ourselves of taxes on income. Anything less is just politics. I wish Mr. Long all the best, but at this point I couldn’t vote for him.

FairTax Plan is Straight Up American

Like so many others I try my hardest to keep up with the important issues and current events of the day. But, with all the demands that work, family and community place on our time it’s near to impossible to actually keep up. I sometimes suspect that we are all too busy to remain fully informed by design, but that’s a political conspiracy theory I’ll save for another day.

I’ve come to realize, though, that by trying to keep up with every issue I am not truly keeping up with any. While I may be somewhat familiar with the issues surrounding border security and immigration, terrorism and terrorists, tax reform, the economy, the environment, our health, our military conflicts, education, the oil spill in the gulf, and the ongoing tragedy of Lindsay Lohan, just to name a few, I can not hope to become and remain fully informed on all of them. So, what’s a voter to do?

I have decided that for the time being and for the foreseeable future I’m going to pick one as my primary issue. I’ll still follow the other important issues, of course, but my primary issue will be my focus. And, this primary issue is going to be tax reform, or more specifically the FairTax.

The November elections will soon be upon us and all the candidates will march about saying all the things they think we want to hear. Their position on most issues is predictable. No candidate is going to come out against border security, or for terrorism. Their positions on most issues will differ only by degrees and approach.

But, the issue of the FairTax is a line in the sand. The FairTax specifically proposes the abolishment of the federal income tax, and its replacement with a national consumption tax. American citizens, tourists, immigrants, anyone who spends money in America at the retail level will contribute to our national coffers. We determine how much tax we pay by how much we spend, and everyone pays the same percentage amount. The government’s ability to control the Country by manipulating the tax code goes away. And, any political candidate who supports handing the reins of the Country back over to the citizens of the Country by passing and enacting the FairTax is worthy of serious consideration.

I chose this as my primary issue because I am convinced that passing the FairTax plan is the single most important step we can take in preserving this republic of the United States of America. Our politicians and our government have become corrupt beyond reason and they will not correct themselves. Only by forcing them to relinquish their power to manipulate the flow of money can we hope to find equilibrium.

This is not to say that the other issues we face are not equally important, but I believe the FairTax is our best chance of returning our Country to prosperity through government by the people.

So, in the coming months we will be looking more closely at the FairTax plan and how it is meant to work. We will also look into the political candidates who support it or don’t support, as well as those who merely claim to support it as a bid for your vote.

If you want to learn more about the FairTax I urge you to visit the Americans for Fair Taxation Web site at www.FairTax.org.

1948 Cartoon “Make Mine Freedom”

This Cold War-era cartoon uses humor to tout the dangers of Communism and the benefits of capitalism. The dangers that it points out are the same as those our freedoms face today except that now those dangers are in the halls of power right here in Washington, D.C. Give it a look and if it doesn’t give you pause then you’re just not paying attention.

Movie Mirrors Society

Movie poster for "The Day My Parents Ran Away"I just watched one of the most brilliantly conceived, and apparently misunderstood, films I have ever seen. It’s called “The Day My Parents Ran Away.” It’s from 1993 but it’s incredibly pertinent today.

In the movie, Matt Miller is this spoiled little teenager who manipulates his parents and every other adult around him into giving him whatever he wants. He goes blithely through his days innocently convinced that he is entitled to everything his parents provide for him, and more. He thinks it unfair that his parents have the larger bedroom in the house when he has twice as much stuff as they do. He is completely bemused when his parents get tickets to a concert and plan to use their car on a night when he intended to use it. In other words, Matt is a liberal.

Matt’s parents, Bob and Judy, finally get fed up and leave. Of course, they leave him the house and a credit card and Matt is in Donkey heaven mindlessly piling up charges for a non-stop teenage party. He’s perfectly happy with this new arrangement so long as he continues to get everything he wants. In fact, he thinks he is representative of teenagers everywhere. Everything is groovy until the credit card is maxed out, the house is in shambles, the electric company turns out the lights, and his girlfriend, Melanie, dumps him on grounds of stupidity.

Eventually Matt learns that his future is ultimately up to him. He does some growing up and goes to work. Melanie, who saw his potential all along, gives him another chance. Bob and Judy come home and everybody lives happily everafter.

This quirky little film is a perfect mirror of our society. The liberals are convinced of their entitlement to all things. So long as they get whatever they want they don’t care, or even consider, who’s paying the bills. The more they get the more they want, and the very idea that a person deserves what they earn is just too confusing to even think about.

What, I wonder, would happen if those who actually are working and footing the bill in our society suddenly said, “You know what? We’ve had enough. Here’s the keys. Whatever’s left in the treasury is yours. Give us a call when you grow up.

True, it’s not practical but it sure is fun to think about.

What do you think?

Online Tax Revolt

Online Tax Revolt - March For AmericaI was in a meeting the other night and one of the guys cheerfully proclaimed, “I’m getting a tax refund this year!”

I tried to explain that the government was only sending him back his own money, less any interest he could have earned on it. He wasn’t being given anything. But, it didn’t seem to matter. He was getting a check from the government.

I came home and logged on to Facebook. There was a post by my niece, “Yay!! We’re getting our tax refund on Friday!”

I don’t get it. How have we allowed ourselves to be convinced that a tax refund is a good thing? That means that during the past year you paid more taxes than you should have. The government used your money, or more properly misused it, and now they are going to send you a little portion of it back. And forget about the interest you could have made on that money. The Gov doesn’t pay interest. That’s just gone. Except, of course, that they earned interest on it while they had it, and they keep that money.

Why are we still putting up with this nonsense? Income tax was not part of the original plan. Every system of taxation that exists today existed back in 1787. If income tax were a good idea it would have been included in the Consitution from the beginning. But, it’s not a good idea. In fact, it is a horrible idea. The harder you work, the more they take. The more you earn, the more they take. The more you have, the more they take. It punishes us for striving to do what our natural instincts drive us to do, succeed.

It’s time to stop the madness. In 1913 the government pulled the wool over the eyes of our grandfathers and great-grandfathers when they convinced them that a tax on income was necessary. Now, generations later, we are still wearing that wool. Only now it’s grown wet and stinky and too heavy to carry any longer. It’s time to say, “Enough.”

There is an Online Tax Revolt going on right now, and you can join in and add your voice to those of your family, friends and neighbors from all over the Country. It’s free to join. It’s a virtual march on Washington that began last week and will culminate with an actual march that will take place on April 15. You can participate in the virtual march online or you are most welcome to actually go to Washington and be a part of the historic event in April. Do one, or do both, but for the sake of our Country and the future of our grandchildren please do something.

Go to Online Tax Revolt.com and sign up right now.

Join the Online Tax Revolt today!

Cordially,

Tim Couch

Statists vs Thinkers: This is War

Every time I listen to the news for very long I end up scratching my head and mumbling to myself, “What are they thinking?” Thankfully, there are brighter minds than mine around to shed some light on just what it is, “they” are thinking.

The Obama administration and the Democrat controlled Congress have continually and repeatedly done things that simply make no sense. However, I recently read a National Review Online article by Victor Davis Hanson that brings the big picture into focus.

The article is not new but it is very much on-point, and it helped open my eyes to the fact that we are not simply in a series of battles over health care, unnecessary and superfluous stimulus packages, government bailouts, and tsunami tax increases. We are in an all-out war for the very survival of our Country and the freedoms that our Constitution guarantees us. This is not a war between Republicans and Democrats regardless of how far in either direction they may lean. This is a war between the Statists and the Thinkers. A Thinker is anyone with any hope or desire to think for themselves and make their own decisions. A Statist is someone who believes the government should make all the serious decisions and control the outcome. The Statists are at the gate and that should send shivers down the spine of every free Thinker in America.

Please read Hanson’s article below and if it doesn’t ring true, tell me why by leaving a comment. I’d really like to know.

Obama and ‘Redistributive Change’
Forget the recession and the “uninsured.” Obama has bigger fish to fry.

The first seven months of the Obama administration seemingly make no sense. Why squander public approval by running up astronomical deficits in a time of pre-existing staggering national debt?

Why polarize opponents after promising bipartisan transcendence?

Why create vast new programs when the efficacy of big government is already seen as dubious?

But that is exactly the wrong way to look at these first seven months of Obamist policy-making.

Take increased federal spending and the growing government absorption of GDP. Given the resiliency of the U.S. economy, it would have been easy to ride out the recession. In that case we would still have had to deal with a burgeoning and unsustainable annual federal deficit that would have approached $1 trillion.

Instead, Obama may nearly double that amount of annual indebtedness with more federal stimuli and bailouts, newly envisioned cap-and-trade legislation, and a variety of fresh entitlements. Was that fiscally irresponsible? Yes, of course.

But I think the key was not so much the spending excess or new entitlements. The point instead was the consequence of the resulting deficits, which will require radically new taxation for generations. If on April 15 the federal and state governments, local entities, the Social Security system, and the new health-care programs can claim 70 percent of the income of the top 5 percent of taxpayers, then that is considered a public good — every bit as valuable as funding new programs, and one worth risking insolvency.

Individual compensation is now seen as arbitrary and, by extension, inherently unfair. A high income is now rationalized as having less to do with market-driven needs, acquired skills, a higher level of education, innate intelligence, inheritance, hard work, or accepting risk. Rather income is seen more as luck-driven, cruelly capricious, unfair — even immoral, in that some are rewarded arbitrarily on the basis of race, class, and gender advantages, others for their overweening greed and ambition, and still more for their quasi-criminality.

“Patriotic” federal healers must then step in to “spread the wealth.” Through redistributive tax rates, they can “treat” the illness that the private sector has caused. After all, there is no intrinsic reason why an auto fabricator makes $60 in hourly wages and benefits, while a young investment banker finagles $500.

Or, in the president’s own language, the government must equalize the circumstances of the “waitress” with those of the “lucky.” It is thus a fitting and proper role of the new federal government to rectify imbalances of compensation — at least for those outside the anointed Guardian class. In a 2001 interview Obama in fact outlined the desirable political circumstances that would lead government to enforce equality of results when he elaborated on what he called an “actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change.”

Still, why would intelligent politicians try to ram through, in mere weeks, a thousand pages of health-care gibberish — its details outsourced to far-left elements in the Congress (and their staffers) — that few in the cabinet had ever read or even knew much about?

Once again, I don’t think health care per se was ever really the issue. When pressed, no one in the administration seemed to know whether illegal aliens were covered. Few cared why young people do not divert some of their entertainment expenditures to a modest investment in private catastrophic coverage.

Warnings that Canadians already have their health care rationed, wait in long lines, and are denied timely and critical procedures also did not seem to matter. And no attention was paid to statistics suggesting that, if we exclude homicides and auto accidents, Americans live as long on average as anyone in the industrial world, and have better chances of surviving longer with heart disease and cancer. That the average American did not wish to radically alter his existing plan, and that he understood that the uninsured really did have access to health care, albeit in a wasteful manner at the emergency room, was likewise of no concern.

The issue again was larger, and involved a vast reinterpretation of how America receives health care.  Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.

Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. “They” (the few) will now have the same care as “we” (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.

We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.

None of this equality-of-results thinking is new.

When radical leaders over the last 2,500 years have sought to enforce equality of results, their prescriptions were usually predictable: redistribution of property; cancellation of debts; incentives to bring out the vote and increase political participation among the poor; stigmatizing of the wealthy, whether through the extreme measure of ostracism or the more mundane forced liturgies; use of the court system to even the playing field by targeting the more prominent citizens; radical growth in government and government employment; the use of state employees as defenders of the egalitarian faith; bread-and-circus entitlements; inflation of the currency and greater national debt to lessen the power of accumulated capital; and radical sloganeering about reactionary enemies of the new state.

The modern versions of much of the above already seem to be guiding the Obama administration — evident each time we hear of another proposal to make it easier to renounce personal debt; federal action to curtail property or water rights; efforts to make voter registration and vote casting easier; radically higher taxes on the top 5 percent; takeover of private business; expansion of the federal government and an increase in government employees; or massive inflationary borrowing. The current class-warfare “them/us” rhetoric was predictable.

Usually such ideologies do not take hold in America, given its tradition of liberty, frontier self-reliance, and emphasis on personal freedom rather than mandated fraternity and egalitarianism. At times, however, the stars line up, when a national catastrophe, like war or depression, coincides with the appearance of an unusually gifted, highly polished, and eloquent populist. But the anointed one must be savvy enough to run first as a centrist in order later to govern as a statist.

Given the September 2008 financial meltdown, the unhappiness over the war, the ongoing recession, and Barack Obama’s postracial claims and singular hope-and-change rhetoric, we found ourselves in just such a situation. For one of the rare times in American history, statism could take hold, and the country could be pushed far to the left.

That goal is the touchstone that explains the seemingly inexplicable — and explains also why, when Obama is losing independents, conservative Democrats, and moderate Republicans, his anxious base nevertheless keeps pushing him to become even more partisan, more left-wing, angrier, and more in a hurry to rush things through. They understand the unpopularity of the agenda and the brief shelf life of the president’s charm. One term may be enough to establish lasting institutional change.

Obama and his supporters at times are quite candid about such a radical spread-the-wealth agenda, voiced best by Rahm Emanuel — “You don’t ever want a crisis to go to waste; it’s an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid” — or more casually by Obama himself — “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”

So we move at breakneck speed in order not to miss this rare opportunity when the radical leadership of the Congress and the White House for a brief moment clinch the reins of power. By the time a shell-shocked public wakes up and realizes that the prescribed chemotherapy is far worse than the existing illness, it should be too late to revive the old-style American patient.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.