Sometimes, when you know one thing about a person, it’s all you really need to know about that person.
Here’s something to know about Vivek Ramaswamy, who wants to be the Republican front-man for president: He favors a confiscatory inheritance tax – which he says will promote a “meritocracy” by dint of eliminating the “problem” (as he sees it) of an unearned advantage possessed by people whose parents leave them a substantial sum of money.
Or even any money.
He says that the state seizing – and redistributing – the accumulated wealth of a lifetime of work is “a way of redistributing duty.”
Where to begin?
How about with this business of promoting a “meritocracy” – by seizing and redistributing the wealth earned by the meritorious? Or at least, the successful. People who worked hard – or worked smart – and accumulated wealth, which they did not dissipate during their lives because they wished to save it, presumably for the sake of their children. Which is to say, people who were motivated – at least in part – to be successful because they wanted to help their kids.
This Vivek character favors punishing such parents by promising to have the government take not just some but almost all of what they earned (after having already taken a large portion of it via the tax-theft applied to it when it was earned and then again whenever it was spent and even on the things it was spent on, such as real estate ) so that it can be given to . . . who, exactly?
Why, to the government!
The very epicenter of merit. Where you will find the best and brightest; the people who succeed at productive endeavors that create rather than redistribute wealth. It is our duty to do this! It is our “Path Back to Excellence” – the partial title of the book in which Vivek spells out his plan to have the government equalize everyone.
“We shouldn’t allow people to become billionaires just by having rich parents,” Vivek says. People who have money “owe it to everyone else” (italics added) in order to “preserve meritocracy so others have the chance to do the same.”
Meaning: Hand over whatever’s left of their life’s work to the government at the end of their lives.
Vivek is not a stupid man. He is himself a rich man, presumably by dint of being smart and hard-working. So it is unlikely he isn’t smart enough to understand the meaning of what he says. Which is the same thing the most radical of Leftists have been saying since the Communist Manifesto was published. One of those things being (point number 3) the “Abolition of all rights to inheritance.”
Vivik didn’t say all – and not for all. Just “billionaires.”
This is how “we” ended up with a tax on income, too. When the 13th Amendment was proposed (by agents of the money interests that controlled – and still control – the country) it was sold to the rubes as something only the wealthiest Americans would have to pay. This appealed to their envy – and their envy clouded their judgment as regards their own self-interest. They were foolish enough to buy the notion that only the wealthy would have to pay the income tax.
And now everyone except the rich – who can afford to pay sharp lawyers to arrange it so that they avoid it – pays it.
It will work the same with the inheritance tax Vivek favors, should it ever be realized. Perhaps because Vivek does not (like all-too-many “conservatives”) appreciate that by agreeing with Leftists you end up with Communism. A system in which what’s yours belongs to others.
So why bother working to earn it?
This is the question begged – but not answered – by Vivek. There is another, related question he ought to be asked to answer: How can a “meritocracy” exist when it is punished? The opposite of Communism is a system in which your success isn’t punished. It is agrees that what you earn does not belong to others. And it follows that if it belongs to you, it also belongs to whomever you wish to leave it to. The fact that this advantages those to whom it is given is not a justification for stealing it from them. If it is, then why not go after – why not punish – other advantages that lead to inequality?
Some people are bequeathed better genes by their parents. They are smarter or healthier or some other advantageous thing – purely as an accident of birth. And many are advantaged by parents who care enough to provide their kids with the best education available. The best food they can afford to feed them. To give them every opportunity – including those others may not have. This is not “unfair.” It is their right.
They are motivated to sacrifice for the sake of their kids. This is as natural a human feeling as the instinct of a cat to protect her kittens. Without it, the kittens will probably die. Without the motive to work – often, for the sake of one’s progeny – so does a society.
It is a bleak barometer of what the Republican Party has become that a Republican presidential candidate can endorse a tenet of the Communist Manifesto – and still be a viable Republican candidate for president.
Then again, it was Republicans who ginned up the first tax on income – under Abraham Lincoln, during what was not a “civil war” (the states of the Southern Confederacy did not seek to take over the Northern states; they simply wished to leave a “union” their grandfathers had assumed was based on the concept of the consent of the governed).
Lincoln “signed into law a revenue-raising measure to help pay for Civil War expenses. The measure created a Commissioner of Internal Revenue and the nation’s first income tax. It levied a 3 percent tax on incomes between $600 and $10,000 and a 5 percent tax on incomes of more than $10,000.”
Note the usual neutral-sounding language of coercion. A “revenue raising measure.” As if it were voluntary.
And of course, it was the Republicans who – over the dead bodies of more than half a million Americans on both sides – ended forever by force of arms the idea of government by consent.
So it is not really surprising that one of the leading candidates for the Republican nomination endorses ending forever the right of those who earn money to save it and pass it down to their kids.
“We” mustn’t “allow people” to do that.
. . .
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