- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2001

The primary problem with President Bush's tax plan is that it removes about six million Americans from the income tax rolls. While there are dozens of festering divisions in American society, including those based on age, race, religion, language, culture, education, sexual orientation and ideology, one of the most dangerous divisions is between those who pay most of the taxes and those who benefit in any number of ways from the taxes paid by others.

It is morally wrong to allow non-income taxpayers to vote to raise the income taxes of others — and benefit from doing so. It is morally wrong in this sense: While most Americans would never dream of seizing money or property that belongs to a neighbor, many Americans see nothing wrong in giving government and politicians a mandate to do it for them.

Once we reach the point where those who depend and thrive on higher taxes and bigger government are in the majority, we will no longer be able to correct inequities and change course via the ballot box. The proponents of limited government, lower taxes and the Constitution will have lost.

The founders were horrified that something like this would happen in America. We have forgotten President John Adams' warning against the tyranny of the majority: “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, whose party has lurched toward the extreme left, is on the stump proclaiming that if the “greedy rich” are allowed to keep more of their earnings, they will waste it on new Lexus automobiles. This is dangerous demagogic foolishness. It is surplus money, not in the hands of politicians but in the hands of achievers who know how to put it to work in the private sector, that builds enterprises, sponsors technological innovation, makes capital investments, creates job opportunities and generates prosperity.

The Marxian slogan of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” is a prescription for economic disaster. When rewards are based on need rather than achievement, people will compete to be more needy. It is a poisonous prescription for America with which the Democrat Party is flirting.

As more and more resources are stripped from achievers through “progressive” income taxes, inheritance taxes and capital gains taxes, the danger increases that a greedy government will waste, exhaust, and eventually kill the Golden Goose. For a romantic novel explaining how this is so, read Ayn Rand's “Atlas Shrugged.” For an economic lesson on this subject from a renowned scholar, read Chapters 6 through 8 of George Reisman's economic masterpiece, “Capitalism.” Better yet, read all 998 pages for a larger understanding of economics.

The leaders of the Democrat Party are guilty of the worst form of class warfare. They consciously promote the lie that people are poor because others are rich. When a new company forms around a new product, the entrepreneur, who makes it happen by taking great personal risks, winds up with an infinitesimal piece of the pie he created. If the company fails, he may lose everything he owns; if the company is successful, he is lucky if he retains 1 percent of the wealth created.

Such men and women are the true heroes of our society. They increase the size of the economic pie. They create wealth and jobs. They raise our standard of living. They pay the bills. They are not the enemy.

The income tax system is an abomination. It is intrusion of the government into the lives, bank accounts and businesses of private citizens. It is complex, time-consuming, costly and counterproductive. It is hundreds of thousands of pages of incomprehensible codes and forms, consciously calculated to keep every taxpayer confused and vulnerable.

The 16th Amendment to the Constitution has no caps, thereby effectively granting government the authority to confiscate all the wealth generated in America. That is far and away too much power in the hands of politicians and leaves too much room for high mischief.

This infernal system of taxes must be replaced by a simple tax on consumption, which does away with most other taxes and eliminates all the squabbling we do about who and what should be taxed and how much. It's well past the time for saying goodbye to the Internal Revenue Service, tax attorneys and accountants. And it's well past the time for ridding ourselves of any right of the government to be concerned with how much money we make or how much our children will inherit.

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