As we saw last week in the “Girl Scout cookies” case out of Savannah, Ga., government — which was supposed to provide a level playing field by providing courts of law and barring interstate tariffs but otherwise stay out of the way — is destroying our economy, largely to protect the jobs of all its various taxmen and enforcers, who cruise around looking for “violations,” in pursuit of the chimerical goal of seizing or destroying “undeserved wealth.”
About the only way I know to determine whether anyone is earning “more than they deserve” is to see if the employers could hire anyone for half the money to do the same job. Unfortunately for the levelers, the results of this test are not likely to move most folks closer to the median, because the fact is some folk have talents, skills, and energy levels that place them way above the mean, while many others (especially if they got trapped in the government youth propaganda camps) simply don’t.
Can professional football teams and movie studios hire somewhat less attractive or talented people to play quarterback or anchor their million-dollar productions? Clearly not, or they would.
(In fact, look at how short many such careers are, precisely because such “stars” DO cycle so quickly. Two bad pictures or a losing season — or even a few minutes on “20/20,” if you’re Charlie Sheen — and you’re lucky to get a job endorsing bone-loss cures.)
Can big corporations get by, recruiting slightly less talented CEOs at half the pay? Since such outfits are by definition “greedy,” clearly not, or they would.
Socialists keep writing in, asking why people complain about $125,000 firemen who don’t earn their pay, while failing to complain about $12 million CEOs. Well, If I don’t like the way the CEO of McDonald’s is running things, I can stop buying his services, either switching to Wendy’s or (heaven forbid) carrying a bag of carrot sticks and a bottled water for lunch. If I don’t think my money is being well spent on a fire department, what do I do? Refuse to pay the sales tax? “Hire” a different fire department?
Which brings us back to our test for the “overpaid.” Can you advertise the job of a $100,000 fireman or zoning code enforcement officer and find 50 (heck, 500) applicants who are fully qualified to do that job — and who can learn all the necessary skills in a few weeks — for half the money? Yes, you almost certainly can, especially here in the New West, with our singular lack of fire-prone high-rise tenements.
So who’s got the corner on “unearned wealth”?
Do you really want to live in Barack Obama’s paradise, where the government steps in to “spread the wealth around”? Do you really want them to seize more wealth from “the rich” and hand it to the rest of us until “everybody has just what they need”?
What if they later decide you don’t “need” a color TV, a home computer, or a diet that goes much beyond beans and rice?
Make no mistake, the socialists have no intention of suspending their “spread the wealth round” doctrine when they hit an international border — which is a big reason why they have no intention of enforcing our immigration laws.
They don’t believe in borders, which allow one group of people to adopt a code of laws defending and enforcing an economic system which allows and encourages the ablest and hardest-working to keep what they earn — physically excluding redistributionist looters who don’t like such schemes, who yearn for the opportunity to swarm into your town or neighborhood, form a majority, and “vote in a more compassionate safety net,” taxing your savings and transferring said ill-gotten lucre to them and theirs.
Opposing “tax cuts for the rich” — aside from being a nice rallying cry for riling up the masses — has little or no literal meaning, since only the “richest” half of Americans pay any income taxes to begin with.
If the poor pay no taxes to speak of, how would you go about enacting a “tax cut for the poor”? I suppose repealing all sales and real estate taxes might constitute a “tax cut for the poor,” providing you didn’t replace them with higher taxes on anything else. I’m all for it. Who else? Any Clark County commissioners?
Seize ALL the wealth of the 2 or 3 percent of “richest” Americans — surgeons, inventors, whatever — and hand it to the redistribution gang in Washington: It wouldn’t fund their “programs” for much more than a year, and what would you do then?
“The rich” didn’t get that way by being dumb enough to accrue their next pile of loot anywhere within the jurisdiction of folks who have already demonstrated they’ll seize it for no better reason than because they “need” it.
“The rich” are able to take their remaining capital and invest it somewhere else. The Swiss, the Panamanians, the Argentines are all happy to see them coming. Why? Because they’re rich.
The propagandists of piracy say these greedy characters pay starvation wages. Really? In America, “poor people” have cell phones and color TVs; the panhandlers all wear new shoes. But once the big taxpayers have all been driven away, do you think your favorite politician or union boss is going to start paying everybody 40K a year?
The congresscritters pretend they don’t know what to do about all these unaffordable “entitlements.” Sure they do; they just don’t want to tell you.
The solution is to creep up the “retirement age” to 68, 69, 70, while “means-testing” the benefits.
“Yes, we promised you those monies would be there for you — and they are! They are! But only if you NEED them, see. At this point, you still own a home and you’ve got $100,000 in the bank, so you don’t NEED Social Security or Medicare. Come see us when you’re living in a cardboard box.”
Meantime, those who ARE broke get a full ride, right away.
The problem with admitting this is obvious. You’re punishing those who scrimped and saved and invested — punishing what used to be called civic and economic and inter-generational virtues — while rewarding those who “partied hard” and reached age 69 (or 62, if you’re fat enough to need a motorized wheelchair) with nothing.
And once you admit those are the behaviors you’re rewarding, who on earth do you expect to scrimp and save and invest to put themselves in a position to pay tomorrow’s taxes?
Vin Suprynowicz is the Review-Journal’s assistant editorial page editor. His Web site us vinsuprynowicz.com