Lost in the back and forth of the fiscal cliff debate is a core question we must answer as a country. Do we want more or fewer wealthy Americans? Depending on the answer to this question, government policy must reflect the answer and encourage the desired result. If we wish to create more millionaires, then more wealth must necessarily stay in the hands of individuals and out of the coffers of government. If we wish to have a country of fewer wealthy citizens, then the government must take more money out of the private economy to prevent economic growth and prosperity. The latter seems to be what the current administration has as its core objective.
Raising tax rates on the rich, in addition to the constant characterizations of the rich as selfish and greedy, inculcates in others the desire to avoid becoming wealthy. After all, no one wants to be a constant target of demonization by their fellow citizens. People often wonder, and so did I for a long time, why billionaires like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates would advocate for raising taxes on people like themselves. They, as successful businessmen, understand better than most that fewer dollars at work in the private economy means less economic growth. Then I realized that by publicly taking a populist stand against themselves, they have attained immunity from the criticism of class warfare rhetoric. They can appear to be saying, "Look I'm with you, but those damned Republicans won't raise my taxes." This makes them the "good rich" as opposed to the "bad rich" who want to keep more of the money they earned through their own endeavors.
Another way in which the wealthy are characterized as the scourge of humanity is by reducing or eliminating their accomplishments, saying they became rich "off the backs of the poor." No one has yet to explain to me how it is that poverty creates wealth, but the masses don't think that hard. The left foments envy and coveting within the minds and hearts of those who are not rich against those who are. This coveting has escalated in recent years to a place where the non-rich feel entitled to charge government with taking wealth from those who have earned it, and give it to those who have not. In my opinion, there is no greater greed than feeling you are entitled to the private property that someone else has earned. And there is no greater travesty than employing the power of government to confiscate that wealth for you.
Abraham Lincoln once stated that a man can not build his own house by tearing down his neighbor's house. He also understood that owning the fruits of one's own labor is what is called liberty and the opposite is called tyranny. And the worst kind of tyranny is that which is self-imposed as a result of suppressing the desire to succeed to avoid public criticism and derision.
Click here to watch my latest political song parody. Posted December 2, 2012.