When I was at Harvard Business School, we inherited a joke that has passed from class to class. It goes something like this: the whole HBS education can be reduced to two simple ideas. More money is better than less money; money now is better than money later. Practice that little adage, and you can save yourself two years of tuition money.
Knowing that, and at least harboring a hope of great wealth, I should oppose President Obama's suggested ten-year budget. And yet I don't. In fact, I think that raising taxes is an excellent idea, albeit one that will almost certainly not produce all of the intended effects. I'm no communist: I'm a realist who would rather have something to share - in the name of civic virtue - than nothing at all in the name of short-term greed (cloaked in the flag).
Consider a consistent theme of history: when too few people in a society accumulate too much of the wealth the majority arms itself and tries to take it back. You can call this anarchy, rebellion, revolution or social Darwinism, but I'd rather share more - pay higher taxes - than have to live through any of them.
And let's not forget that we have been trying it the Republican way since Ronald Reagan crammed Voodoo Economics down our throats. (Thank you for your curve Arthur Laffer.) Throw on a little Republican Revolution, courtesy of Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh and company, and you get the reality of our record-breaking economy. Banks, the Dow and the housing market are all dropping like flies. Meanwhile more Americans are unemployed, uninsured and less educated than they used to be. In technical parlance, this is known as, "...going to a hell in a hand-basket." When I think about Bear Stearns, Citibank, Stanford, AIG, Madoff and Stanford, I wonder just how much more free market practice the country can handle.
Finally, the best part of democracy is that we get throw the bums out every now and again - allowing us to take advantage of new ones. Perhaps the Democrat notion of a more egalitarian society will also end in disaster but as the current course is about to carry us off a cliff, let's try turning anyway.
It goes without saying that much of Obama's plan will never become reality and some of it will cause all new horror shows. Nevertheless, we had all better hope that the President gets it right or none of us will have enough in 2011 to qualify for the higher tax rates.