Filed under: Capitalism, Economy, Politics, Statism, Taxes | Tags: Class Warfare, Income Redistribution, Social Justice
Many economic concepts are counter-intuitive. And that becomes a political problem. It emerges in every campaign as “class warfare.”
The goal of the far left is “social justice.” They love the phrase, but explaining it is hard. Things, they are sure, ought to be fair, and it is not fair if some people are rich and some people are poor. It’s not fair if some people drive Mercedes and others have trouble buying a used car. It’s not fair if some people live in big houses and others live in slums. So “social justice” is to be attained by redistribution of income. It means not equality of opportunity, but equality of outcome.
The thing about redistribution of income for the left, is that it is to be accomplished by taking away other people’s money. Many of those who are most concerned about “social justice” are notorious for their stinginess with their own money. Our current deficit and debt indicate how easy it is to spend other people’s money.
Income mobility in the American economy is one of the wonders of the world. A young person in America, according to Brookings economists Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill, needs only to observe 3 basic rules to have a 75% chance of being in the middle class: 1. Graduate from high school. 2. Get a job. 3. Get married and wait until they are 21 before having a baby.
Americans don’t envy the rich, they hope to become rich. Here in Washington State, which Obama carried with 57% of the vote in 2008, a proposal was on the ballot to add an income tax applicable only to individuals making more than $200,000 a year or families making over $400,000. 65% of the state’s voters opposed the tax. That’s not envy of “the rich.”
In his State of the Union Speech, President Obama felt compelled to raise the class warfare theme. Although he had just agreed to extend the Bush tax-cuts, he wanted to make it clear that he didn’t like it and would be back to raise taxes on the rich. Whether this is conviction or simply a sop to the far left is unknown.But long-range planning is very difficult when the government has a constant threat of higher taxes hanging over business.
Class warfare does not create jobs. Attacking the rich or the successful does not create jobs. Government has no clue about creating jobs, they have made that quite clear. They need to get out-of-the-way and let creative, hard-working Americans restore the economy.