Biden's Tax Cuts Won't Hurt the Rich, but They Will Hurt You
Like those looters in Portland, Seattle, and other U.S. cities, progressives in Washington think the property of others is theirs for the taking. They control a majority in both house of Congress and the presidency, so they believe they have the right to take whatever they wish. They have plans to eliminate the Trump tax cuts and raise personal tax rates by 25%, capital gains taxes by 60%, and corporate taxes by 33%.
The American economy is restoring itself at this moment. If Biden left it alone, the economy would be booming by the end of the year, and Biden would have something to take credit for. Instead, he is going to kill it — and the media will find a way to grant him credit for that.
Biden is intent on raising taxes for political, not for economic reasons. His advisers must know that higher taxes, especially on corporations, will lower growth and jobs, but growth and jobs, which would most benefit hourly workers, are not what they care about.
The creation of good jobs is just the opposite of what Biden wants. His administration is intent on expanding government power, something that requires ever greater dependency on government assistance. The Biden worldview sees federal, and global, government controlling every aspect of life, with autocrats like himself permanently in charge. Trump's idea of a thriving free market with well paid workers living in freedom has no place in Biden's agenda.
To bring about dependence, Biden proposes free college, free child care, free elder care, expanded Medicare, extended unemployment benefits, periodic stimulus checks, infrastructure handouts, and a host of other "benefits." That's one side of dependency — government stepping in to take the place of the family, the employer, and private charities. The other side is an attack on the free market.
Biden's tax proposals will reduce the size of the free market over what it would otherwise have been. If a corporation is paying 28%, or 35% as some propose, instead of 21%, that's less private revenue for capital spending, research, wages, and shareholder return (which itself is recycled back into further corporate investment and economic growth).
As Lenin put it, "the way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." Biden promises both, and make no mistake: Biden is closer to Lenin than to our Founding Fathers and to the entire history of America. It is, in fact, the Founding Fathers, our Constitution, and our liberty that progressives see as the problem. And taxes are not just their way of "paying for" new programs, which they will not pay for, in any case; taxes play a central role in transforming the nation from economic liberty to socialism and serfdom.
We may not yet be living in a communist state, but under Biden's plan we are closer to communism than to our Founders' idea of America. Communism promises a classless society, but it results in greater inequality along with brutal dictatorship. The way to achieve this dictatorship in America is to drive the ideal of self-responsibility and ownership from the minds of the people. What takes the place of the free market is redistribution, which is nothing more than theft.
Many Americans already believe that there is nothing wrong with stealing from their fellow citizens, with 56% favoring a wealth tax on the very rich (though not on themselves or anyone close to themselves). They have been told, again and again, that the "wealth gap" is wrong and that the only way to address it is to redistribute wealth until greater equality exists. Once this idea has been accepted, theft is no longer viewed as immoral. It becomes almost a civic duty, as it was under Bolshevism, Nazism, Maoism, and every other communist system.
In reality, all will feel the effect of Biden's proposed taxes. Consumers are already seeing inflation as businesses raise prices in anticipation of higher taxes and regulatory costs. Tax increases are always passed on to those whom they are supposed to help. Ordinary working Americans will feel the weight of inflation, not the millionaires and billionaires. Increases in the cost of paper products announced this month won't significantly affect those earning a half million per year, but they will seriously harm those living on $20,000.
Unfortunately, for centuries now, progressives have been attempting, with some success, to undermine the free market. Communism teaches that private property is the product of the owner's exploitation of the labor of others. Thus, all private property is immoral, and it must be replaced with state control. Today's progressives may not admit it, but this is the foundation of their thinking as well. For Biden, increased taxation is not just some kind of necessary evil — it is a celebrated means of destroying the America that they hate.
At the heart of the debate over taxation is the conflict between two different conceptions of ownership. The traditional teaching is that ownership is a sacred right, not to be violated except in times of real emergency, and that it is the basis for a stable and equitable society. By contrast, progressives believe that wealth is the product of exploitation, and so redistributing wealth is justified, even virtuous.
Ownership is a fundamental instinct — so much so that its importance is sometimes taken for granted. Progressives have managed to remove from public discourse just how crucial the sense of ownership is, and they have done so in part by insisting that discussion of ownership suggests immoral greed and is therefore unseemly. Google "wealth is good," and the results will mostly focus on "wealth inequality," which is a very different thing. The West Coast algorithms reflect progressive thinking, not reality.
It is in our nature to seek wealth and tangible assets, and to pass them on. This is not just a characteristic of a supposedly greedy bourgeoisie — it is a universal human trait that is the basis of the human instinct to engage in production and trade. And it is production and trade, and the risk-taking that goes with them, that are the fundamental basis of human well-being. And it is production and trade that Biden's taxes will suppress.
A true ownership society must erect permanent and unassailable barriers to government theft via taxation. It must celebrate the labor that underlies wealth creation, and it must reward risk-taking and innovation. It must reflect faith in the virtue of the free market.
Most important, government must not steal from its citizens. A stable society depends on the existence of the rule of law, itself the reflection of universal aspects of human nature. And among the important of these aspects is the instinct for ownership and the aversion to theft that goes with it.
Jeffrey Folks is the author of many books and articles on American culture including Heartland of the Imagination (2011).
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