Senator Warren: A demagogue's delight

Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposes a new tax – not on income, but on wealth.  There are a variety of economic arguments against a wealth tax, but I will let economists argue those.  My objection is that Warren starts with the assumption that great accumulated wealth is based not on achievement, but on manipulation of the economy and our government.

But what if wealthy people became wealthy by producing something we all want?  Did Steve Jobs become wealthy by rigging the system, or did he develop, produce, and market the iPhone, a device that has had a greater impact on everyday life than any government program Senator Warren might fund with her new tax?  Did Jeff Bezos rig the system, or did he create with Amazon an incredible company for marketing and selling products?  I just used Amazon to buy four tires for my Toyota Corolla.  The local garage told me I needed new tires and gave me an estimate of $660 for tires and installation.  Instead, I ordered tires on Amazon and took them to the garage for installation.  Saved $300.  So if Bezos became super-rich by providing me and millions of others with that service, fine by me.

What if some genius medical researcher comes up with a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer's disease and as a result becomes grossly, outrageously, stupendously, unimaginably wealthy?  Wouldn't bother me at all.  In fact, I would cheer.

At least from what I have read so far, Warren ignores or denies the existence of meritorious achievement.  Read her tweets: "The ultra-rich have rigged our economy."  "After making a killing from the economy they rigged, they don't pay taxes on that accumulated wealth."

Someone in government deciding that one group of people has too much and does not deserve all that it has is a dangerous proposal.  That is the technique used by every demagogue in history.  Demagogues claim that you are suffering because of what those other people have done – in this case, those rich people.

After the super-wealthy, what next?  Are your children's schools too good?  Do you have too much education?  Are you using too much health care?  Are you too successful?  Do you have too much of a good thing?  Instead of creating more good things, should we take some of what you have accumulated and share your wealth?

Beware – Senator Warren will come for you next.

Image: Edward Kimmel via Flickr.

Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposes a new tax – not on income, but on wealth.  There are a variety of economic arguments against a wealth tax, but I will let economists argue those.  My objection is that Warren starts with the assumption that great accumulated wealth is based not on achievement, but on manipulation of the economy and our government.

But what if wealthy people became wealthy by producing something we all want?  Did Steve Jobs become wealthy by rigging the system, or did he develop, produce, and market the iPhone, a device that has had a greater impact on everyday life than any government program Senator Warren might fund with her new tax?  Did Jeff Bezos rig the system, or did he create with Amazon an incredible company for marketing and selling products?  I just used Amazon to buy four tires for my Toyota Corolla.  The local garage told me I needed new tires and gave me an estimate of $660 for tires and installation.  Instead, I ordered tires on Amazon and took them to the garage for installation.  Saved $300.  So if Bezos became super-rich by providing me and millions of others with that service, fine by me.

What if some genius medical researcher comes up with a vaccine to prevent Alzheimer's disease and as a result becomes grossly, outrageously, stupendously, unimaginably wealthy?  Wouldn't bother me at all.  In fact, I would cheer.

At least from what I have read so far, Warren ignores or denies the existence of meritorious achievement.  Read her tweets: "The ultra-rich have rigged our economy."  "After making a killing from the economy they rigged, they don't pay taxes on that accumulated wealth."

Someone in government deciding that one group of people has too much and does not deserve all that it has is a dangerous proposal.  That is the technique used by every demagogue in history.  Demagogues claim that you are suffering because of what those other people have done – in this case, those rich people.

After the super-wealthy, what next?  Are your children's schools too good?  Do you have too much education?  Are you using too much health care?  Are you too successful?  Do you have too much of a good thing?  Instead of creating more good things, should we take some of what you have accumulated and share your wealth?

Beware – Senator Warren will come for you next.

Image: Edward Kimmel via Flickr.