President Obama’s press conference yesterday—in which he only took questions from left-leaning reporters apparently–contained an amazing statement. It should be noted the first two instances of the first person singular pronoun in the sentence refer to Barack Obama, President of the United States. The second two refer to Barack Obama, taxpaying citizen:

And I do not want, and I will not accept, a deal in which I am asked to do nothing, in fact, I’m able to keep hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income that I don’t need, while a parent out there who is struggling to figure out how to send their kid to college suddenly finds that they’ve got a couple thousand dollars less in grants or student loans.

There is, of course, nothing whatever stopping Barack Obama, taxpaying citizen, from donating his excess income to the United States Treasury. But his statement demonstrates an astonishing economic illiteracy. To be sure, someone earning a great deal of money has an income greater than what he spends. You can only spend so much on luxurious living however hard you try, a reality so rich with comic possibilities that a 1902 novel called Brewster’s Millions has been made into a movie no fewer than nine times.

But, unlike Scrooge McDuck, the rich do not put the excess in a vast money bin and frolic about in it. They invest it. What a concept! Where does Obama think new capital comes from, the tooth fairy? It’s nothing more than the excess of income over outgo. Take away the income the rich “don’t need” and spend it on social programs, and capital formation in this country drops to zero.

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