I put that to Arthur Brooks, who heads the American Enterprise Institute.
"No, the fairest system is the one that rewards the makers in society as opposed to rewarding the takers in society."
Brooks wrote "The Battle," which argues that the fight between free enterprise and big government will shape our future.
"The way that our culture is moving now is toward more redistribution, toward more progressive taxation, exempting more people from paying anything, and loading more of the taxes onto the very top earners in our society."
But it seems "kind" to take it away from wealthier people and give it to those who need it more.
"Actually, it's not," Brooks says. "The government does not create wealth. It uses wealth that's been created by the private sector."
He warns that "Americans are in open rebellion today because the government is threatening to take us from a maker nation into taker nation status."
Americans in "open rebellion"? I'm skeptical. Handouts create fierce constituencies. The tea party movement is wonderful, but it takes strength to say no to government freebies. When I've said to tea partiers, "We should cut Medicare, eliminate agriculture subsidies, kill entire federal agencies," the enthusiasm usually fades from their eyes.
I hope that I am wrong and Brooks is right.