September 10, 2012
Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
There’s a very dangerous expression we’ve been hearing a lot lately from all corners of the globe, mostly from socialist-leaning politicians and economists who fancy themselves champions of the people.
They look at certain tax inequalities like the difference between capital gains rates (tax on investment income) vs. income tax rates (tax on labor) and complain, “what does it say about our values as a free society when investors pay a lower tax rate than workers?”
This is a total BS red herring; it’s not an ‘either/or’ argument. They’re both wrong.
If you’re an investor or business owner, the government is your silent partner, whether you like it or not. The government doesn’t put up a single cent of capital, and they risk absolutely nothing if a venture fails. Yet if it succeeds, they’ll take a handsome share of the profit.
In any other context, this sounds absurd. If I said to you, “Cut me in for a piece of your deal, and in exchange, I will do absolutely nothing…” you would rightfully tell me to F off.
Yet somehow governments get away with this… and it’s simply the accepted norm.
Of course, statists contend that governments provide valuable services which people are obliged to pay for; it’s the old “you didn’t build that” argument. This is total bunk.
Even if one concedes that governments build the infrastructure which makes business possible, it’s plain to see that for every road, port, and title office, there are dozens of debilitating regulations which make things more difficult for everyone.
On the flip side of this coin, government also takes its ‘fair share’ of people’s labor. From farmers to physicians, government treats ALL workers like stupid milk cows.
They take a big piece of your labor, then they take an extra piece in payroll and social tax. Then they tax you on what you spend, and then again on what you save. Finally they steal whatever you have left over through inflation.
It’s important to point out that governments have an uninterrupted history of serial, catastrophic failure when it comes to handling other people’s money. It seems crazy that anyone in his right mind would advocate giving these people more even money.
Yet the luminaries to whom we award our most esteemed prizes for intellectual achievement are among those beating this drum the loudest.
As an example, Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz’s latest book The Price of Inequality blasts US tax policy for not being onerous enough. His only point of praise is that the US government taxes all of its citizens on their worldwide income. To him, this is actually a good thing!
This tax policy class/warfare debate is dangerous and keeps people distracted from the truth. In fact, to even use the words ‘free society’ anymore in western civilization is intellectually dishonest.
At this very moment, the US government is building the largest digital spy center in the world, right there in the land of the free. When the facility is completed, the NSA will be able to intercept, collect, monitor, and archive every email, text message, tweet, and phone call
that’s ever transmitted, worldwide.
In a free society, people would have a say in whether they want their government to have this kind of control.
Yet all of this happens without anyone’s consent. The Internet monitoring, the drone fleets, the airport radiation baths, the massive expansion of the money supply… all of this is overseen and implemented by unelected bureaucrats.
Such is the nature of the modern democratic republic– a system that has completely lost sight of freedom and elects criminals to lead the rest of us. Yes, indeed, what does all of this say about our values?