I am convinced that there must be a logic gene in the brain and that it is most assuredly missing in liberals. How else could one explain the phenomenon of someone looking at history, be confronted with facts and then completely ignore it all and arrive at a screwball conclusion devoid of any logical explanation?
Several years ago I was chewing the fat with a liberal colleague and the discussion swung around to the topic of the progressive income tax. If you are ever in need of some cheap fun just watch a liberal try to explain the logical basis of this iconic institution and then figuratively explode at the end! Personally, I believe that if conservatives cannot win the arguement against progressive income tax rates, then we probably will never win any substantial governing majority for any length of time. To me, this is a seminal issue that separates the mindset of the two warring parties. Someone's attitude towards this seemingly minute point of policy reveals the fundamental orientation that individual's outlook and perspective on nearly every question of governance.
It is quite clear that the 14,000 or so pages of federal tax code really have little to do with raising revenue and so much to do with the raw exercise of power, with control, with social engineering and with rewarding and punishing friends and political enemies. If it is only about raising revenue we could have a post-card flat tax or a sales tax and be done with it. No, the tax code is powerful tool for inciting class envy, class warfare and for buying votes.
Back to my friend. The crux of our disagreement was, of course over the concept of a system of increasing tax rates for increasing income levels. Thus, the 'progressive' income tax. The liberal argument quite simply put is that those who make more should pay more. They should give back to society. They should pay, hold your breath, their fair share. At this point I drew out the following scenario:
$10,000.00 x 10%=$1,000.00
$100,000.00 x 10%=$10,000.00
$1,000,000.00 x 10%=$100,000.00
I ask him, at a flat 10% tax rate who is paying more? Silly question. The person making a million bucks a year is paying a lot more than the person making a hundred grand and a heck of a lot more than the 'little guy' making ten grand. Isn't that progressive, isn't he giving a lot back, isn't he paying his fair share? Well, not to the liberal's satisfaction. And why not? Well the millionaire can afford to pay a higher percentage of his income, he replies. How do you know, I ask? Well, he should be able to the liberal snorts back. Why should he have to, under what Constiutional principle and more importantly who is to decide how much is enough, I shoot back? Well, the government, of course will decide. So, will it be 20%, 30%, 50%? This is where the control comes in. Whoever sets the rates controls the taxpayer. Whose money is it I ask? Well, it's his money, but he has a responsiblity to plow more of it back into society since he took so much out of society. And here is a fundmental liberal misundersting of economics. It's the idea that when someone gets more, someone else must get less. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The zero-sum pie game. What the liberal does not understand is that rich people are usually in business...the business of making more economic pies. Their business activity increases the wealth of everyone. They create jobs, they create goods and services that people want, they spend their income on houses and clothing and cars and boats that must be manufactured, thereby creating more jobs. And all of these people with jobs are paying taxes. A rishing tide does lift all boats. The liberal simply does not see or does not believe all of this and thus thinks that society must wrest some retribution from the rich by imposing every-increasing taxes on them. All that does is take more money out of their pot with which to expand their businesses and hire more people. The liberal winds up killing the golden goose and doesn't even know it.
This is all very interesting, but for me a more fundamental question is that of how we justify treating people differently in the eyes of the tax law. It's a very American tenet that all men are created equal and that all men are treated equally before the law. To not do so is to set up a class system of favoritism and thus fan the flames of class envy and hatred. The liberals are quite adroit at setting up big business and the rich as the boogey-man (you know those big businesses that give people jobs and create new medicines and make your cars and clothing and tv sets and food) and convince the masses that these people are ripping them off and the liberals must ride in to save the day and protect the 'little guy.' Somehow the liberals convince people that by sticking it to the fat cats somehow the little guys will be better off. But when rich people pay more taxes it doesn't put a single dollar in the average little guy's pocket. But he is supposed to feel better about America for some reason. So if you take the time to study the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution you find that an overarching theme is the equality of all people. We are to all be treated equally. There is no royalty or nobility by simple virtue of birth. The rights we hold to be self-evident are for all Americans equally. Lady justice is blind. It doesn't matter if you are a pauper or a President, the law looks at you the same. The law is supposed to be the great equalizer. Yet, for some strange reason when it comes to income tax law, some of us are more equal and less equal than others. The tax rates and income levels they apply to are completely arbitrary and change with the whims of changing political administrations. There is no rhymm or reason to it. And that's just the tax rates. The other 13,999 pages of tax law amounts to the exceptions and exemptions and favors and punishments that politcians dole out to their friends and enemies. Some fairness, some equality. What the politicians (mostly liberal) have done is to pit one class of society against the other; then they play the middle and keep getting re-elected. Fanning the flames of class hatred keeps them empowered. They must be there to protect the little guy from the big, bad businessman. All the while taking huge campaign contributions from the big, bad businessman trying to buy one of those exemptions. I'll take loopholes for $300 million Alex. This tap dance is divisive and runs counter to what is really in all Americans' best interests. This sort of philosophy doesn't usually end well. Think of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. That ended of with a country that could not even feed itself and tens of millions of citizens slaughtered by their own governement.
Is this where we're headed all over the concept of 'the fair share?' The problem with the fair share is that it really is not fair by any logical deduction and someone must arbitrarily decide what it is. When someone gets to decide what someone else's fair share is there will never be peace and there will certainly never be fairness or equality. The Constitution provides no guidance on how to treat people unfairly and unequally. It's, well; un-American. Perhaps we should not even try.
So now, my liberal friend is just about to the point of exploding. He still thinks that the rich should pay more than their fair share, well just because, um, well, just because. It just seems right to him, besides they can afford it. Oy, here we go again.