Apparently, President Obama gave a 17-minute answer in response to the question: “In the economy (sic) times that we have now, is it a wise decision to add more taxes to us with the health care, because it — we are over-taxed as it is?”
First of all, I should point out that it’s sort of a moot point; obviously, Obama does think it’s wise, or else he wouldn’t have done it.
Secondly, Obama did basically answer the question; in that he said what the problems the bill addressed were. In so doing, he essentially laid out for the listeners to decide whether it was wise or not.
Thirdly, it is very difficult to assess what “over-taxed” means. Is it an economically measureable phenomenon? Is it “over-taxed” in the sense that the government gets less revenue with higher tax rates, as Arthur Laffer thought? Or over-taxed in the sense of taxes that make people move to other countries to keep more of their money, hence strangling innovation? Either way, it’s hard to say if we’re over-taxed or not.
On the other hand, if we’re talking about “over-taxed” as a moral issue (because some say it is not only inefficient but immoral for the government to tax at high rates), then the situation is utterly irresolvable, because–and I suspect this is the case–Obama and his questioner have fundamentally different moral outlooks on this issue.
Lastly, I’m pretty sure what Obama was trying to say without actually saying it was: “Taxes will have to be raised to pay for the debt and deficit. This is going to happen no matter what. If you think you’re over-taxed now, well…”