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By Mike Hudson

The city's answer to the old Soviet Comitern, NOAH -- the Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope -- is at it again, bothering Falls residents by mounting a door-to-door campaign focusing on propping up a regressive tax that takes money from those who earn it and distributes it among those for whom hard work is an alien concept.

Somehow NOAH has convinced members of the local media to refer to it as a "faith-based" organization. The only faith the group has is in the rantings of atheist and avowed socialist Saul Alinsky, who believed that pretty much everyone should enjoy the same standard of living whether they worked or not.

NOAH is one of many leftist front groups participating in an operation known as "Knock for 99," a propaganda blitz based on the lie that millionaires constitute just 1 percent of the country's population, while the other 99 percent of us are left to fight like dogs over the scraps that have fallen from the tables of the filthy rich.

The reality, of course, is that nearly 20 percent of American households qualify for "millionaire" status, meaning that some 30 to 40 million Americans can say they live in such circumstances. This is roughly the same percentage who live below the federal poverty line.

And in addition to those who have already achieved "millionaire" status, there are millions upon millions of hardworking Americans who strive to one day join their ranks.

None of these would belong to an organization like NOAH, which operates under an overriding principle that dictates the redistribution of wealth from those who -- through talent, hard work, smart investments or simple good luck -- have acquired wealth legitimately to those who, because of laziness, teenage pregnancy, dropping out of school, drug addiction or some other problem, have likewise consigned themselves to a life of poverty.

Our great Democratic governor, Andrew Cuomo, himself a second generation millionaire, has shown no interest whatsoever in extending the state's so-called "Millionaires Tax," which penalizes those who succeed here and has driven thousands of people -- including Donald Trump and Tom Golisano -- along with their billions of dollars, from the state.

NOAH spokeswoman Linda Hurley said allowing the tax to sunset will result in the loss of roughly $4.6 million in tax revenue for the state.

She said that the 30 or 40 members of NOAH here fear the loss of revenue would cause state employees to lose their jobs at a time when New York can ill afford to have more people on the unemployment line. The loss of the Millionaires Tax will create an additional financial burden on the middle class, she added.

The reality, of course, is that neither Ms. Hurley nor her organization give a rat's behind about the middle class, many if not most of whom aspire to one day be millionaires. What she is really concerned about are the overpaid state workers whose primary job it is to care for and feed her constituency, the down-and-outers and losers it is the unfortunate burden of society to look after.

We live in a city where a full 70 percent of the population lives on government assistance, meaning that for every three people who work hard and pay taxes, there are seven who consume that support.

You've got seven hospital patients receiving charity for every three paying their fair share. Seven shoppers buying groceries with welfare cards being supported by three who pay cash. Seven depending on the three to provide for education, child support, housing, psychological counseling, prescription medications, incarceration and the myriad other services those like Ms. Hurley believe are God-given rights.

Is it any wonder that bright, ambitious people are fleeing Niagara Falls -- and New York state -- as though a plague had broken out here?

The reality is that there is a plague, one no less damaging than those that decimated the population of Europe 500 years ago. The only difference is that the current plague is based upon the ideas of those who, like Ms. Hurley, believe something can indeed be gotten for nothing and advocate on behalf of those who merely consume wealth at the expense of those who generate it.

It's not going to get any better. Elected officials have no motivation whatsoever to lessen the tax burden on responsible individuals, since controlling tax revenue is a key factor in how much power an individual politician has.

And, since the government has largely broken up private sector labor unions, those that remain are comprised of the very individuals -- local, state and federal employees -- for whom any reduction in taxes would be a disaster.

Add to those powerful interests people like Ms. Hurley and the NOAH organization as a whole, and you're left with a society where those who strive against long odds to succeed in the way Americans used to succeed for generations are nothing but a bunch of suckers, marks waiting for their pockets to be picked.

The denouement will come when, instead of the current seven-to-three ratio, you have one person working for every nine who do nothing but suck up resources.

Niagara Falls Reporter www.niagarafallsreporter.com Dec. 6, 2011