Even though there has been an onslaught of conservative writers and commentators exposing the lie that raising taxes on “the rich” will lower the deficit, there’s an even bigger lie they have largely ignored. The lie I’m talking about is a false premise that goes virtually unchallenged, day in and day out, by even the most conservative members of Congress and the media.
It is the premise that is the very foundation of the fact-barren gibberish of the far left: that if you are financially successful, you are morally obliged to hand over an ever-larger share of your earnings to those who are not as fortunate. The idea is that extreme wealth is an indefensible crime.
What gives this false premise its strength is the equally false premise that rights can be randomly created by self-righteous politicians and self-anointed champions of the poor or middle class. Of course, every rational person knows that the only natural right an individual has is the right to sovereignty over his own life.
But progressives are a feisty bunch, and they can be very creative as they thrash about in an effort to overcome a lack of factual ammunition. In that regard, one of the most creative notions I’ve heard in a long time came from a very angry, far-left Occidental professor by the name of Dr. Caroline Heldman.
When Bill O’Reilly pushed Dr. Heldman to the wall by asking her to name what rights she believed every person possesses, she stumbled about until finally coming up with, “Well, one that we can all agree on is the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” “Wow!” I thought to myself, “Maybe she recently read Thomas Paine.”
Not quite. Heldman then expanded on her comment by explaining that in order to have life, a person has to have free health care; in order to have life, a person has to have a guaranteed job that pays a “decent wage”; in order to have life, a person has to have a free education. … Mercifully, O’Reilly interrupted and admonished her to cut the nonsense.
The endless parade of lefties on television continues to spew out juvenile, soak-the-rich, class-warfare rhetoric that not only ignores the facts (e.g., the top 1 percent of earners already pay more than 40 percent of all income taxes) but conveniently ignores moral considerations as well. They unfailingly base all arguments on the premise that targeting the rich is a morally sound endeavor.
What progressive politicians are essentially saying to young entrepreneurs is: “America is the land of opportunity, and we’re pulling for your success. But if you succeed ‘too much,’ we will take an increasingly larger percentage of your earnings and redistribute them to those we deem to be in need. So please keep working hard, because your success will provide more money for us to redistribute to others.”
Beginning with his infamous “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody” slip of the tongue when answering Joe the Plumber during his presidential campaign, coupled with his perennially angry wife’s “Someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so that someone else can have more,” Barack Obama’s focus has been on punishing “the rich.”
Now, however, the gossip around our little Beltway-protected village is that Obama has gotten the election message and appears to be taking a page from the playbook of Hope, Arkansas’ second-slickest politician, Bill Clinton. Could the stealth Marxist that the American-hating left has been counting on really be letting them down? Not a chance.
What few in the media understand is that in Obama’s world, it matters not if gays are allowed in the military or if they’re put in concentration camps. Likewise, he has very little interest in what happens in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or with those pesky oil spills, the START treaty, or any other item that excites media pundits.
No, the thought that consumes all else in Obama’s mind is his late father’s statement that 100 percent taxation is justified. And why not? Barack Obama Sr. was a proud communist, and communism is 100 percent taxation.
It’s important to understand that this is not a financial issue with Obama. He made that clear during one of the primary debates when Charlie Gibson, of all people, asked him – five times! – to explain why he would raise the capital-gains tax when the historical evidence proves that higher capital gains taxes actually lower government revenues.
Trapped by the facts, Obama finally said, “It’s a matter of fairness.” That’s right – even if raising taxes doesn’t help the poor, it’s justified so long as it punishes “the rich.” And there is little doubt in my mind that the Emperor of Envy who now occupies the White House remains committed to preaching the age-old, wealth-is-evil message of left-wing revolutionaries.
Which is why conservatives had better start manning up and challenging the premise that the wealthiest among us are fair game and start defending them on a moral basis. They have to understand that if you enter into an argument based on a false premise, you’ve already lost the argument.
When the Republican presidential candidates begin to step forward in the next few months, I’ll be watching closely to see which ones, if any, have the courage to defend America’s most oppressed minority, the wealthy. Will any of them be willing to explain that the wealthiest among us have the same natural rights as every other citizen?
The fact is, America needs more wealthy people, not less, because they are a sign of a healthy economy and, more important, a truly free nation.