Thursday, October 3, 2019

Punish Them with Taxes

We do not yet know whether Sen. Bernie Sanders will return to the presidential campaign. If he does not, that will open the door to Sen. Elizabeth Warren. The two putative socialists have proposed what they call a wealth tax, a tax that will siphon off enough money from the very rich to pay for all of their grandiose schemes.

Rick Moran explains that such taxes never live up to their promise. They usually collect around 10% of what they promise. You see, Moran says, the rich did not get and stay rich by stupidly paying all the required taxes. Perhaps the people who vote for Warren and Sanders do, but they are rarely in the 1%. Unless you count from the bottom up.

Anyway, Kevin Williamson explains that the purpose of such taxes is not to fill the government coffers, but to punish the rich. And he notes that we owe this wondrous concept to none other than Barack Obama. When Obama said it, no one paid much heed. No one is allowed to criticize the American idol. Still, Jeremiah Wright’s protege believed that the purpose of taxation was to punish those who were successful. Thus, it was about justice, not about good governance.

Williamson explained:

Perhaps the strangest utterance of Barack Obama’s career in public office — a career that was full of utterly bizarre pronunciations of many kinds on many subjects — was his 2008 claim that raising taxes on the wealthy is a moral imperative, even if the tax increase in question ended up reducing overall federal revenue.

Which is to say, Obama argued that it did not matter whether a tax increase hurt the Treasury, so long as it also hurt, at least in theory and on paper, certain wealthy people. That wasn’t a one-off: In his crackpot speech in Osawatomie, Kan., during which he tried to reanimate Teddy Roosevelt’s “new nationalism” cult (this was back before progressives had decided that to use the word “nationalism” in public was akin to shouting “Sieg heil!”), he took a similarly moralizing approach. “Our tax code must reflect our values,” he proclaimed.

So, it’s the Obama legacy, though no one will seriously accept that it’s the Obama legacy. But, as I have suggested, guilt/punishment narratives, as in punish-the-rich-for-being- criminals narratives are easy to understand. At a time when the Democratic Party is infested with ignorant fools, people who are too stupid to govern, they have set about selling conspiracy theories and guilt narratives. Or, as Williamson says, they are launching moral crusades and drowning us all in rhetorical hyperbole.

Williamson offers a similar thought:

When politicians fail at the basics of governance — and ours have failed and are failing — they embrace moral crusades and moral hysterias. That’s why New York City is proposing to put people in jail for using the perfectly accurate English words “illegal alien” to describe aliens whose presence in these United States is illegal — while the trains are failing, the schools continue to fail, the garbage piles up, and the police department continues its long history of acting as an organized-crime syndicate. Etc. 

One of the reasons you have a more libertarian view in the United States and more support for the welfare state in Sweden is that the Swedes can look at their government and say, “Oj, my taxes are higher than the NorralaĆ„n in springtime, but at least I get something for all that money.” People in New Jersey? Not really. We’ve seen veterans dying of preventable causes and pointy-headed little bureaucrats lying about it, and nice progressives getting very, very upset about that — and then saying what we really need is higher taxes on the rich so that we can bring the same model of care to everybody else in the country and make it mandatory.

So, veterans are dying of preventable conditions, but today’s Democratic presidential candidates are falling over themselves to offer free health care to illegal aliens... as long as you do not call them illegal aliens.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

The thing about the wealthy is, of course, that they know where to put their money where the government can't take very much away from them, and that they can move elsewhere, for the same reason.

Governments aren't that intelligent.