Views of the rich from left, right - Tucson Local Media: Voices

Views of the rich from left, right

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Posted: Tuesday, July 21, 2009 11:00 pm | Updated: 1:33 pm, Mon Apr 18, 2011.

H. L. Mencken said that God must have truly loved the rich or else he wouldn't have divided up so much money among so few of them. How we view the rich is a basic dividing line everywhere in the world between left and right.

The ultimate left — Marxists — have a simple view. You kill them and confiscate their property. Where this happened — the Soviet Union, North Korea, etc. — little if any ever trickled down to the people. Worse, the inherent fallacies in Marxist Doctrine insured nobody would ever have much worth confiscating again, but the replacement elites of the Communist Party became the rich themselves. "Comes the revolution, things will be different" — not better, just different.

The left wing of the current Democrat coalition has always been suspicious of the "rich," which is a relative term. In Hell holes like North Korea, the rich are those with enough food. In the United States, welfare recipients live better than most people do in the rest of the world. Western Europeans live well too under their current high tax-welfare states, but the wealth they now redistribute was essentially created in previous economic models of the free market and their future is as cloudy as their freedoms are limited. Socialist systems never create enough to make any meaningful redistribution possible in the first place. I cite as evidence everywhere in the world where that's been tried. China grows prosperous by dumping Karl Marx.

Prosperity depends on wealth creation. Between Reagan and Bush 2, America created the largest group of new millionaires in our history. Liberals whine about alleged decreases in the middle class, but many people moved up. You measure real prosperity and economic gain by that yardstick.

Pathological egalitarianism is a driving force behind modern liberalism, although the cry to soak the rich is as old as the Roman Republic, with similar long-term results. Its first fallacy is that the amount of wealth being taxed will remain constant when you raise the tax rate. It's second fallacy is a total failure to understand that the "rich" do not simply put their money in the mattress or foreign bank accounts unless the economy, like in most socialist nations, is totally shot. They buy stuff. They pay sales and other taxes. They create investment and jobs, either directly or indirectly. They give money to charities and non-profits and the arts. The more of them there are, the better off we all are.

I find it amusing when liberal Democrats repeatedly berate the GOP majority in the Arizona Legislature by calling them "ideologs." Never has a national administration of either party been as totally dominated by ideological zealots as this one. Leftist dogma oozes from the President's pores and those of his closest advisors. One example —eliminating charitable tax deductions for the rich will obviously destroy many charitable and non-profit organizations. That is not an unintended consequence. This President and those closest to him want a European system where the private sector is replaced by government selecting the social programs and art forms for you.

Mencken would've agreed with Maggie Thatcher's comment that the real problem with a socialist economy is that sooner or later you run out of other people's money. The "mixed economies" of Western Europe came along after the wealth had been created. Even they haven't gone as far as some here would like. This President may well be to the left of most of them.

The final irony is that many of the rich have guilt-tripped themselves into supporting the very policies that would injure not just them but the system that created their wealth in the first place.

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