Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Is It Therapeutic to Pay Taxes?

How do you get people to feel good about paying extra taxes? And how do you get them to vote for candidates who are going to increase their tax burden?

Easy. You tell them that it is a therapeutic experience. Like buying what the Church calls "indulgences."

I owe this idea to the great financial journalist, Robert Samuelson. Link here.

In his column Samuelson deftly draws back the curtain on our wizard-in-chief.

He argues that when Obama declares that green jobs, health care and education reform will solve the financial crisis, he is not merely misreading the problem. He is actively creating a "feel-good" culture where paying more taxes allays the guilt you should be feeling for having succeeded.

Samuel calls it a "post-material" economy. It is also a post-market economy.

In the name of a specious concept of social justice, and without there being any evidence or reason to back up the claim, the president is asserting that green energy and computerized medical records will create tons of high paying jobs.

Samuelson calls this a mirage, a way out of the reality of markets and into a world of fantasy.

In his words: "What defines the 'post-material economy' is the growing willingness to sacrifice money income for psychic income-- 'feeling good." Some people may gladly pay higher energy prices if they think they're 'saving the planet' from global warming. Some may accept higher taxes if they think they're improving the health or education of the poor."

If this is true, the Obama is also exploiting guilt. He did not create the guilt; he is simply mining its resources.

Schools and the media have taught us that our wages are wages of sin, and that our gains are ill-gotten.

Important members of the mental health profession have added that when successful people are unhappy with their lives, they must be suffering from unacknowledged guilt.

If that is what ails you, then charity is the cure.

If you do not feel very charitable, the government is going to help you out. You may not like it when the government raises your taxes, but, keep in mind that it is doing it for your own good.

When the government redistributes income, it is effectively practicing charity. It is taking from the rich and giving to the poor... or to the interest groups that supported the winning candidate.

If that does not make you feel better, then you need to get with the new culture.

Amazingly, this culture is not only embraced by those who stand to gain the most. It is often promoted by otherwise intelligent high-income individuals who stand to lose the most.

This tells us that it is not really very difficult to manipulate the minds of the rich and successful.

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