The most despised class of Americans is the wealthy. If you wish to rise to power or become an influential figure in political discourse, then all you need to do is demand the rich pay their fair share and wield the government club to confiscate their wealth. Legendary economist Ludwig von Mises warned about this type of person in 1922 when he wrote: “Nothing is more calculated to make a demagogue popular than a constantly reiterated demand for heavy taxes on the rich.”
How did Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) become a political icon in 2016? By handwringing and shouting about oligarchs and the top 0.1% (no longer just the 1%). Now, he has a new confiscatory plan that would make the socialist economies of the 20th century blush.
The War on Billionaires
Sanders revealed that he does not think billionaires should exist, calling the supposed levels of income inequality in America “outrageous and grotesque and immoral.” Because a potential Sanders administration cannot outlaw billionaires, he has the next best thing: wealth confiscation.
The socialist senator unveiled a new wealth tax on the richest Americans that would potentially wipe out half of their fortunes in 15 years and raise more than $4 trillion in revenue during the first decade. It is similar to Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) proposal from earlier this year, except his goes a lot further.
According to the Sanders campaign, the tax starts at 1% on wealth from $32 million to $50 million and ends at 8% on wealth over $10 billion. Who is going to try to top Sanders by demanding a 25% fine on sums over $10 billion?
To ensure that billionaires do not evade the penalty, the 2020 presidential candidate proposes establishing a “national wealth registry” and “significant additional third-party reporting requirements.” He would also mandate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to conduct audits of one-third of billionaires’ wealth tax returns and those belonging to people in the 1% bracket. If anyone plans to leave the country to avoid paying the tax, then they had better be prepared for a 40% exit levy on the net value of all assets less than $1 billion and a 60% mandatory charge on assets greater than $1 billion.
He said in a statement:
“At a time when millions of people are working two or three jobs to feed their families, the three wealthiest people in this country own more wealth than the bottom half of the American people. Enough is enough. We are going to take on the billionaire class, substantially reduce wealth inequality in America, and stop our democracy from turning into a corrupt oligarchy.”
Yikes. All that is missing is for Sanders to call his fellow Americans “comrades.”
Big Hug for Big Business
Before we continue, the next section is meant for those who became successful on their own through the free-enterprise system and not the cronyist way.
For all the grief that millionaires and billionaires face, it is time that we show them a little love by giving them a kiss on their cheeks and whispering sweet nothings in their ears. Contrary to the public’s perception of the richest people on the planet and corporate juggernauts, our lives are much better because of big business – not the other way around.
It is widely assumed that billionaires amass their fortunes and then clean their butts in the morning with $100 bills. This idea that the affluent are just sitting on money is preposterous. From investments to additional entrepreneurial pursuits, the Mark Cubans, Jeff Bezoses, and Warren Buffets of the world are constantly investing in the next big thing, researching ways to solve problems, and expanding their own fortunes by satisfying the public’s demands. Every dollar that a billionaire spends travels through the system and opens the door to a myriad of possibilities.
What about corporations? A corporation is nothing more than a massive business that generates billions of dollars every year by, once again, satisfying consumer demand. The pharmaceutical giant is coming up with new drugs to treat pain. The retail behemoths are cutting prices to increase your purchasing power and making Christmas, back to school, or just your overall quality of life more affordable. Big Tech, for all its biases and faults, continues to innovate and disrupt every other industry. Big Oil is powering your home to make life enjoyable.
Yet, billionaires and big business are contemptuous beings who should be tarred and feathered? Nonsense. Not only are they improving our lives, but they are covering the tab, too. For all the talk of the wealthy paying their fair share, they are already doing so – and then some. As Liberty Nation reported in April 2018:
“According to IRS data, two-thirds of taxes are paid for by the top 10% and close to 40% of taxes are paid by the top 1%.
This has been the trend since the 1980s, which was ostensibly the “greed is good” era. When former President Ronald Reagan entered the White House, the top 1% was responsible for 20% of federal income taxes. By the end of former President Barack Obama’s tenure, Americans with incomes over $500,000 paid 39% of national income levies.
Even under President Donald Trump’s tax reform bill, 20% of Americans earning $150,000 or more will pay 87% of total income penalties, up from 84% in 2017, notes the Tax Policy Center (TPC). Why are Democrats still angry?”
No, billionaires and big business are not the villains that the mainstream media, the academics, and the politicians like to make them out to be. Even if these beings were malevolent, everyone is still better off with folks controlling their own wealth instead of the government wasting precious resources on some progressive cause du jour.
Envy Can Never Build
It is arrogant, greedy, and selfish to believe that because someone is successful that you are entitled to his or her wealth. Politicians, mainly on the left side of this debate, continually think this way by shrieking that “you didn’t build that!” and complaining about giving the people, including the rich, more of their money back.
They say the country is more divided than it has ever been, split right down the middle. If this is a true assessment, then former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was right when she said, “The spirit of envy can destroy; it can never build.” We are only laying the foundation for more fracturing, disdain, and spite; what can flourish from these seeds of iniquity?