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What is it that causes so many rich guys who acquired their wealth
through the capitalistic system to favor ideas hostile to that system?
Could it be guilt? Vanity? The thirst for power once they’ve conquered
the material world?
In Donald Trump’s case, I doubt that the first one applies. But a
combination of the other two is more than plausible. Many buildings are
named after their charitable donors. Well, perhaps Trump is expecting
the nation to rename itself after him if he succeeds in bringing his
master plan to fruition. No one ever accused the Donald of thinking too
Trump was certainly quick to denigrate George Bush for failing to
evade that irksome reporter’s pop quiz the other day. It’s easy for him
and others to say how they would have reacted had they been blindsided
by the likes of Andy Hiller.
Trump says he would never have participated in such a “history test.”
No, he wouldn’t have done anything so foolish. Yet, in the very same
week, he unveiled his martyrdom-seeking, federal-debt-erasing,
soak-the-rich assets tax. And he and his supermodel girlfriend (and
potential first lady) engaged in graphic on-air discussions about their
“exceptional” sex life on shock-jock Howard Stern’s radio program.
Trump, having announced his intention to seek the Reform Party
presidential nomination, has devised a plan that fits nicely within that
party’s non-platform platform. Reformers claim to decry the national
debt. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons ol’ Ross decided to get
under the country’s hood in the first place.
The national debt is approximately $5.7 trillion. Trump proposed that
the government impose a one-time 14.25 percent tax on the assets of
individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more. He claims it would
eliminate the debt and thereby save the nation $200 billion in annual
interest, which could be used for tax cuts and shoring up Social
Many economists say this kind of tax would require an incredible
asset sell-off and most likely crash the stock market. I wonder if the
greedy government would also double-dip by taxing the capital gains on
the asset sales necessary to obtain the liquidity to pay the assets tax.
There is also a serious question as to whether the tax would be
constitutional. But most disturbing is that it clearly undermines the
notion of private property — even worse than the estate and gift taxes
because there is no transfer involved.
It’s just a tax on the status of the property itself, property that
has been acquired, in most cases, with after-tax dollars. Are we
supposed to close our eyes to the obviously anti-capitalistic nature of
this scheme because it is being proposed by a super-capitalist (after
he’s made and inherited his wealth through the system)?
There’s another equally troublesome aspect of this plan. It is based
on the assumption that deficit spending and accumulated debt by the
government are wrong, or at least ill advised and irresponsible. Yet,
Trump’s proposal rewards this behavior and encourages it in the future.
The government that created the mess gets off scot-free, and those who
had nothing to do with it are punished.
In other words, if all the government has to do to rectify the
monstrous deficits it creates is to confiscate private property from its
citizens who had no complicity in the wrongdoing, we are condoning and
perpetuating this evil.
At least with bankruptcy law, the people who get burned are those
(creditors) who had some dealings with the bankrupt with respect to the
debts being discharged. Here, the only infraction committed by those
being punished is that they have wealth. But considering today’s mores,
I suppose being rich is indeed one of the most unforgivable crimes.
Of all people, Donald Trump should understand that the concept of
private property is essential to our economic liberties. How can an
entrepreneur of his stature be oblivious to the peril of such a plan to
Economist F. A. Hayek warned, “what our generation has forgotten is
that the system of private property is the most important guarantee of
Of course, Karl Marx understood this well. That’s why he proposed the
abolition of private property.