Barack Obama: The Rich “Don’t Need a Tax Cut”

After all, they “didn’t build that.” The government helped these rich people achieve their wealth. They’re not in any need of a tax cut. In fact, what they need is to be taxed even more. They’ve got to “pay their fair share” and help spread the wealth around.

Obama made his comments probably in response to a GOP plan to eliminate the death tax on inheritances of $11 million or more:

“These folks at the very top, the top one-tenth of one percent, are wonderful people,” Obama said at a speech before a community college in Birmingham, Alabama. “Warren Buffett’s a great friend of mine. They’ve done amazing things, they’ve invested, they’ve created businesses. They deserve great success.”

“But they really don’t need a tax cut,” he said to applause. “And if you talk them, they’ll tell you, ‘I already got a couple planes, I already got a boat, I already got … five or six houses, I’m OK.’ ”

Obama didn’t cite the estate tax by name, but his comments clearly referred to a House GOP plan to eliminate that tax. The House Ways & Means Committee approved a bill on Wednesday to end the estate tax on inheritances of $11 million and up, a plan that the White House has criticized because it would only affect the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers in the country.

Republicans argue it’s time for the “death tax” to go, because the tax hits inheritances that people have worked all their lives to build up, and that they are trying to pass on to their family.

It’s true that eliminating estate taxes only on big inheritances would only affect a small minority of people. But that doesn’t mean those people don’t need tax cuts. In truth, there shouldn’t even be a death tax at all, no matter how big the inheritance is. People should be allowed to transfer 100% of their inheritance to their kids without the government interfering and trying to grab what they can in the process.

The reality is, the government “didn’t build that.” Very likely, those wealthy people who had built up their wealth over the years worked hard from their youth so that they could pass on that financial security to their family. The government had nothing to do with helping to build up that wealth. In fact, in many cases, wealth was built in spite of government being there hindering and disincentivizing savings through hefty taxation.