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OPINION

Building Back Bonkers

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Were there an American Book of Bad Ideas, progressives’ old reliable fever-dream tax proposals would be chapter one. Just when we think we have seen it all, someone steps up to make the dumb story dumber. In fact, it’s happening right now as Democrats, desperate to push through some sort of legislative package that will appeal to people who aren’t entirely insane and save face before an already dubious public, now have to deal with Senator Ron Wyden’s (D-OR) bonkers “Billionaires Income Tax.” Talk about bad timing.

Of all the wrongheaded nonsense that’s floated in and out of proposed legislative vehicles for President Biden’s “Build Back Better” punchbowl, Wyden’s 11th hour turd is by far the most wild-eyed of them all. The plan would tax tradable assets (think stocks) in the name of taxing the rich. One of the many problems here beyond general obnoxiousness has to do with constitutionality. Taxation is not traditionally imposed until someone sells an asset or engages in a so called “taxable event.” The reason why Democrats want this is so they can claim they have found the money to pay for their uberwoke agenda now, and deal with trifling matters like constitutionality later. 

How can Democratic party leadership not see how reckless these utterly unworkable tax-grabs look to voters? Well, in this case, it appears at least some of them can, as evidenced in Politico Wednesday:

“The jeering section includes House Ways and Means Chair Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who feels like months of work from his panel is being undercut…” 

“Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) chimed in that Wyden's plan is ‘just a public relations idea, it’s not a substantive policy suggestion.’ Even those who support the concept, like Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), complained it's coming too late given its complexity.” 

Or, perhaps to put the sentiments of these and many other congressional Democrats in plainer terms, it’s like Dems have smoke pouring out of all four engines and Wyden is taking bong hits in the back row of the plane.

Unsurprisingly, the targets of this piece of work, which actually would be the first tax in American history on unrealized gains, aren‘t down with the Wyden plan, which is really a culmination of years of huddling and scheming between Wyden, and his partners in wack, Sens. Bernie Sanders ( D-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). (The very thought of taxing unrealized capital gains is a preview of things to come from the party of broken supply chains and hyperinflation. When you run out of real money, just start taxing hypothetical money).

The increasingly fearless Elon Musk, on a glidepath to possibly becoming the world’s first trillionaire, unloaded on the plan on Tuesday prior to its introduction, lamenting via Twitter; “Eventually, they run out of other peoples’ money and then they come for you.” 

Tweeting on, he wrote: “Who is best at capital allocation—government or entrepreneurs—is indeed what it comes down to. The tricksters will conflate capital allocation with consumption.”

It’s perhaps the Progressives biggest and most unfortunate blind spot – that it’s not the profits of billionaires that matter, it is the trillions they pay into the US economy in terms of jobs, goods and services. From every Elon Musk come countless real stories of people thriving and succeeding. Further, Elon Musk and other visionaries are bailing on California as we speak and in droves for being treated like state property. What’s to keep them from bailing on the US altogether in the face of this sort of nonsense? 

The question few are asking is what do the Democrats want to spend this money on?  It wasn’t more than a year ago where Congress unloaded billions in new spending across several shoddily managed federal, state and local programs – all in the name of “economic stimulus.” Higher gas prices, stagflation, supply chain delays are what the American people are worried about. Not to mention the Federal Reserve has been hinting for months it is going to back off from printing money, the stabilizing hand on global markets.  

The Constitution permits taxes, under the 16th Amendment for income, but this is not an income tax. It is a newly created tax on wealth that is not permitted under that amendment, nor the provision that allows direct taxes to be apportioned among the states. 

So let’s just be clear about what is going on. As referenced earlier, Wyden & Co’s unworkable, very likely unconstitutional proposed tax on unreal money isn’t actually designed to succeed. It’s designed to sustain the ridiculous talking point that the “Build Back Better” plan won’t ultimately cost anything and to get it to a tie in the Senate so that poor Kamala Harris can be ushered in to blow up the US economy. Right? Right.

Oh, and one more thing: we know who loves Ron Wyden's tax ideas, right?  China! Anything that makes it easier for China to generate wealth while costing America will be warmly welcomed in Beijing. This too is a bit of a problem. But that’s another article.

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