Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What’s yours is his

There are two ways to view money in our economy. One is that it belongs to the person who earned it and that they are required to pay a certain level of it on taxes. In other words the default it that it is yours except what Congress passes for tax policy. The other view is that the government has claim to all of your money and permits you to keep some of it. In other words the default is that the government has first rights to all of your money and you should be grateful for whatever portion you are allowed to keep. Which view does this administration hold?

This is a telling statement from President Obama’s “town hall” meeting yesterday (transcript of his comments comes from the White House webpage):

The first thing you do when you’re in a hole is not dig it deeper. That's why this tax debate is important. We can’t give $700 billion away to some -- America’s wealthiest people. We’ve got to make sure that we are responsible stewards for our budget. That's point number one.

The grotesque mockery of that statement is amazing. You aren’t “giving away” money to rich people, it is their money in the first place. You are just taking less of it. If you take my wallet and pull out five twenties, put two twenties back and give me my wallet, you haven’t “given” me $40, you are just taking less of what was my money in the first place. Apparently no one has any claim to their money unless the government decrees that they do.

It is a troubling way to view the economy. Democrats seem to think that the best place for decisions about spending and investment is always the government. The private sector has plenty of foolish spending and investment but in the private sector poor decisions and unwise fiscal policy lead to failure and businesses going away. In the public sector, failure to spend wisely and insane fiscal policy is responded to with…demands for even more money to mismanage.
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