"I'm in the top two percent," said Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, this week on CNBC. "Right now, I'm paying 45 percent of my total income in income taxes ... You tell me, what's fair about that when medieval serfs pay 25 percent, I'm paying half? I don't care what the majority voted to do, they don't have a right to steal my money just because they vote for it."
But according to most Americans, they do.
And that's the problem.
As America racks up more debt than God has ever seen on this earth, Barack Obama prepares to right all wrongs by taxing the top 2 percent of income earners in America. What right does he have to their money? Well, says Obama, it's only fair and just -- they make the most money, so they should foot a disproportionate burden of the tax load.
Obama, like all other liberals, thinks in vague terms like "fairness." He doesn't worry about a fair process -- whether or not it's right to allow a majority to discriminate against a minority simply because the minority is rich. He worries instead about a fair outcome. According to President Obama, a fair outcome -- greater income redistribution -- justifies the means. If a majority votes to seize the money of a minority, that's fair, because greater income equality is fair. No Democrat has yet explained convincingly why it wouldn't be most fair for the government to simply seize all wealth in the country and then split it up equally. After all, fair is fair.
But this notion of fairness was anathema to the founding fathers. They rightly recognized that the only real sort of fairness is fair process -- a process that deliberately takes into account minority rights. They knew that a majority giving its stamp of approval to wealth confiscation of a minority was not fair. As James Madison said, "Our government ought to secure the permanent interests of the country ... [It] ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority." Madison wasn't saying this because he was a brutal rich fellow trying to protect his pocketbook. He said this because he didn't want a government in which the majority could oppress the minority. And he also recognized that, in economic terms, wealth confiscation is directly opposed to economic innovation.