It’s not a new idea, but then again liberals are not known for “new” ideas. Since the 1910’s, progressive initiatives have been little more than a string of recycled redistributive concepts, and innovative ways to reduce the private ownership of wealth. The ‘Inclusive Prosperity Act’ is the latest in a long string of “transaction tax” proposals. Essentially the act would levy a sales tax on the trading of stocks, bonds and derivatives. And while the tax might be ill-conceived, and economically damaging, it was the sales pitch for the tax that proved to be most disturbing.
“The bottom line is we’re not broke, there’s plenty of money, it’s just the government doesn’t have it,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), “The government has a right, the government and the people of the United States have a right to run the programs of the United States. Health, welfare, housing – all these things.”
According to Representative Ellison, the government is not in danger of going broke; because great innovative figures such as himself can re-appropriate a 100 year old idea in an effort to take more of your money. Try to wrap your brain around this: We have an elected representative explaining that government has the “right” to any personal wealth in this nation for the sake of running programs not enumerated in any foundational document of the United States. I guess that goes to prove that most congressman know the constitution about as well as Nancy Pelosi knew the Affordable Care Act.
This tortured attempt at economic theory optimizes the liberal progressive view of personal property. All wealth, according to Progressive Democrats like Ellison, is first and foremost property of the government. Personal wealth, and personal property, are what individuals are allowed to keep after government lays claim to what it feels is needed. Ellison’s idea that government can evaluate its fiscal abilities off of the amount of wealth he could potentially tax, demonstrates an eroding respect for personal property rights in this nation.
That progressive liberal view also explains many of the nation’s unfunded liabilities. Why should any elected representative worry about the looming bankruptcy of social security, or Medicare? After all, “we’re not broke.” We can just take more of someone else’s money and call everything OK. This childish attempt at fiscal policy is like running your household budget off of your employer’s profits.
In western democracy, but especially in the United States, personal property is the underlying concept for all citizen rights. The right to own, control and grow one’s own wealth and resources, reduces government to a subservient role. Government, under our system in this constitutional republic, has no rights of any sort. Government is given permission, by we the people, for certain enumerated activities. And while the 16th amendment set in motion the deterioration of private property, Ellison’s comments underscore the degree to which progressives reject the notion of individually owned wealth.
The transaction tax itself is a burdensome and grotesque manipulation of free markets. It will prove to be regressive in nature – punishing small traders, middle class retirees, and ground level aspiring companies – and easily avoidable for the Bill Gates or Warren Buffetts of the world. But more offensive than the economic illiteracy involved in the proposal, is the simple notion that government has a right to lay claim to the fruits of someone else’s efforts. Mr. Ellison’s lack of concern for private property, and individual prosperity, should concern the market and the populace. After all, without the unquestioned right to profit, what role do markets really serve?
The bottom line, Mr. Ellison, is that there is plenty of money “out there.” That money was earned, circulated, and multiplied by free citizens engaging in free commerce. That wealth – to which government feels so entitled – is a consequence of capitalism and private ownership of profits. We the people are not broke. But our government is; because it has yet to figure out how to plunder what it needs from its citizens to pay for its liberal programs.