The parade of Democrats vying for the 2020 Presidential nomination was always certain to be a long one. It’s also proving to be, in validation of my fears and those of many others, a march leftward. Indeed, it’s now virtually a given that “Medicare for All,” which is the latest euphemism for socialized medicine, is going to be a lead position for many of the contenders.

Taxation is also high on the list, with the progressive taste-makers promising not only massive increases to the top marginal income tax rates, but large increases in the estate tax rate and a tax on wealth itself. All this is being floated as the means to pay for “free” healthcare, “free” college, “free” pre-K or child care or the like, and refundable tax credits (aka another government handout) to low income earners.

None of these tax schemes actually add up: the expected revenues – computed without consideration for the negative impact on the economy or for the inevitable behavioral changes – would barely make a down payment towards the “free” stuff. That hasn’t stopped the Dem hopefuls from touting all this, however.

Why? Why has the Left gone all-in on confiscatory taxation and massive redistribution of wealth?

Clearly, because they think it’s a winning strategy. Politics is first and foremost about power, and power is achieved by getting elected to office. The fact is that these “soak the rich” promises have traction, and that’s a very sad and disturbing state of affairs.

My Internet perambulations have found countless examples of people not batting an eye at suggestions of taxing the mega-rich at 70%, or 80%, or 90%. “They can afford it,” “They won’t even notice the difference,” and similar justifications abound for what is, at its essence, armed robbery. The fact that the rich have earned their money is dismissed, sometimes with the lamest of excuses (they probably inherited it, they probably lied and cheated to get it, they stole it from their workers), and sometimes with no rationalization at all.

A common libertarian mantra is “taxation is theft.” It’s simplistic, but it’s far less simplistic and far truer than “health care is a human right” or many other progressive slogans. I’ve offered some nuance to the idea here on this blog, noting that there’s a legitimate case to be made for “fee-for-service” taxation. Simple “take from Peter to give to Paul” taxation, on the other hand, is morally indefensible. It is the crudest use of force, justified only by law-of-the-claw and tyranny-of-the-majority immorality.

And yet, so much of what our government does is just that: taking from Peter to give to Paul. Our entitlement programs, all of which are pay-as-you-go, were sold on the lie that they were to be “trust funds,” where some of one’s earnings were taken to be given back upon retirement. That’s never how they worked, something that’s obvious to anyone willing to look with both eyes, but the mere mention of reform in a direction of an actual trust fund and/or individual accounts is met with howls of outrage so severe that no one dare speak of it any more. Combined, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid runs about $2.4 trillion a year, and it’s all funded by redistributive taxation. Welfare programs of various sorts total nearly half a trillion more. Sixty percent of American households receive more in transfer income than they pay in taxes. The richest already shoulder, by FAR, the heaviest income tax burden. Our tax system is far more progressive (i.e. the richest carry a much heavier burden) than the tax systems of the European social democracies that the Left idolizes.

None of this is apparently enough. Democrats are promising voters more freebies, and promising to pay for them by taking other people’s money. And, the supporters of these candidates and these policies aren’t blinking an eye at the rapacity, at the idea of even greater theft of income, or at the idea of stealing the actual wealth of the nation’s most successful people. They don’t give the slightest shit that it’s not theirs to take, and make up some nonsensical gobbledygook about how it’s immoral that they’ve been “permitted” to make all that money and accumulate all that wealth.

Religions around the world and throughout history codify moral precepts that have proven essential to functional societies. In the West, we find, among others, the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins. Taking from Peter to give to Paul is a violation of the Eighth Commandment “thou shalt not steal,” is born of the sins of greed and envy, and is sprinkled with the sins of pride and sloth. Dare suggest this to a redistributionist, and you’ll be met with a reverse accusation, along with some blather about “this is what taxes are for.”

No, it’s not, and it doesn’t matter how long it’s been going on. Any taxation above that which pays for the core services that a government (federal, state, or local) is obligated to provide to its people (and even there, as much as possible, those taxes should be paid by the users of those services (see: roads)) is theft, plain and simple.

The fact that many millions of people have either convinced themselves otherwise or are simply lying to get what they want doesn’t change that reality. The fact that people are righteous in their demands that politicians steal more OPM to give free shit to them spells doom for our society.

Here’s a news flash. Thieves are often liars, as well. These politicians promising a world of freebies, paid for solely by OPM, are lying. They may be lying to themselves or to you, but either way they are liars. To give what they promise, they will have to heavily tax those to whom they are giving, just like Europe does. And, as has happened in Europe, all that taxation will slow our economy and make the average American significantly poorer.

But, even if that last part weren’t true (it is), even if people convince themselves that things will be better under these massive socialistic policies (they won’t), it doesn’t change the fact that this sort of taxation is armed robbery. That these ideas may very well be the future of the nation shows us what we’ve become.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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