Used to be that envy was considered one of the seven deadly sins.Used to be that the difference between American and European sensibilities could be illustrated by the following anecdote: The American looks at a man (or woman) driving by in a luxury car and says, "Someday I'm going to own a car like that." The European observes the same thing and says, "Someday, we're going to take that car away from him."Americans used to be proud of the difference. Not anymore. Now we aspire to be much more European. Now, envy is promoted as a cardinal virtue right from the top.President Obama and his still-tingling followers have been preaching envy since before he took office, but he's ramping up the volume as he and members of Congress debate what to do about the Bush tax cuts, which are due to expire at the end of the year.
The message, although it is never explicitly stated, is clear: Some people earn more money than you. They have more things than you. That's not fair. They don't deserve it. So, government should take it away from them, to assuage your justifiable envy.The ironies are everywhere.The most colossal, of course, is that Obama and his fellow Democrats attacked the Bush tax cuts as "tax cuts for the rich," since they came into being in 2003.If they really are, then what's to debate? Just let them expire, and let the rich go back to paying their "fair share."Ah, but now that Bush is gone and there are votes to be curried, it turns out that these were not tax cuts only for the rich. They also included everybody else who pays taxes. Now, Obama says he wants to keep those tax cuts in place for 97 percent of those receiving them. In other words, 97 percent of those getting tax cuts weren't "rich."