Punishing Beneficial Behavior, Rewarding Self-Destruction

Michael Medved

7/7/2011 2:50:48 PM - Michael Medved

When Democrats call for taxing the rich to help the poor they appeal to America’s instinctive sympathy for the underdog. Conservatives should respond by invoking another traditional value: resistance to punishing good behavior while encouraging destructive courses of action.


When citizens work hard, earn money, pay taxes and spend or invest what’s left, they do precisely what we want them to do to—stimulate recovery and prosperity. We should welcome, not discourage, a continuation of this pattern. Poor people, on the other hand, need to change and may need help in achieving that change—learning new skills, making more stable family relationships, gaining personal independence and more.


Liberal policies place new burdens on successful behavior, while fostering dependence and helplessness for the destitute. It makes no sense to make it harder to get rich, while making it easier to stay poor.