It would be easy to tag most of those poll respondents as hypocrites who favor tax hikes, but only on the other guy. While there is undoubtedly an element of truth in that, it would be simplistic to primarily blame hypocrisy for that majority sentiment. The reason so many people support Obama on this, in contradiction to Americans' traditional unenvious respect for personal achievement, is expressed in this statement by a poll respondent:
"If you are fortunate and have some extra, you need to help those who don't," said Robin Keck, 49, of Golden Valley, Minn., who owns a framing business and supports ending tax cuts for the rich. "I believe people who have more money generally find more uses for it than putting other people to work."
If you thought I was exaggerating in my TOS Blog post The Left's Egalitarian Trap when I said that if you accept discriminatory tax hikes on the top 2%, you have "no defense against tax hikes on anyone and everyone who earns more than anyone else," you have proof from the other side that I was not.
Keck's moral view, altruism, is held--though not consistently adhered to--by most people. It saturates the culture. If you have "more money," you need to help those who have less. Need to, as in moral duty. What constitutes "extra?" Anything that you can afford but the next guy can't.
I also said that the logical consequence of this line of thinking is "a society in which everyone is equally poor." An exaggeration? On the Left's--and Keck's--premises, if it is right to tax people making over $250,000 for the sake of those making under $250,000, then it is right to tax people making $249,000 for the sake of people making $100,000; and to tax people making $50,000 for the sake of people making $25,000; and to tax people making $25,000 for the sake of people making $10,000. "There are people who aren't broke," said Atlas Shrugged’s Orin Boyle, "You boys have no excuse for permitting all that need and misery to spread through the country—so long as there are people who aren't broke."
This is the moral view that underpins Karl Marx's "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." We know the horrors that the implementation of that slogan brought mankind, and most people are explicitly opposed to Marxism. But, implicitly, most people adhere to Marx's political philosophy through their acceptance of altruism--the moral underpinning of Marx's infamous slogan.
As long as the ethics of altruism dominates the culture, and more of us on the Right don't challenge it with the alternative moral code of rational self-interest, America will continue to buckle under the weight of a growing omnipotent government. The endgame of this trend, if not reversed, will be ugly.
The Left's Egalitarian Trap
Understanding Obama: It's Not the Economy, Stupid!
The Creed of Sacrifice vs. the Land of Liberty, by Craig Biddle
FREE MARKET REVOLUTION: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins