By: Chad Kent
Chad Kent Speaks
“A man’s property is the fruit of his industry, and if it may be taken from him under any pretence whatever, at the will of another, he cannot be said to be free, for he labors like a bond slave, not for himself, but for another.”
Whenever our government is creating a new policy, those policies should have a foundation in logic and reason. For example, today President Obama unveiled his plan to tax wealthy people at a higher rate than those with a more moderate income as a way of reducing our national debt. Ok.
But is there any logical foundation for targeting rich people in this way?
To find the answer to that, let’s start by laying out a few of the core principles that form the foundation this country was built on:
- all human beings are created equal and have equal rights
- among the rights we are born with are life, liberty and property
- this government was created to secure our rights
So at the foundation of this government is the principle that we all have an equal right to the property we legally earn or create. But in this case, the President is proposing to take a greater percentage of property from the rich in society than from the middle class (which is already the case with our progressive income tax).
The question that needs to be answered is, “Why is it that a rich person has less right to his property than an average person?” At exactly what point along the scale of income earning do you as a citizens begin to lose your rights and become less of a human being?
Those are questions that must be answered if we are going to continue with this approach to taxation. The issue here is extraordinarily simple – either we all have equal rights or we don’t. The idea that “we all have equal rights but it’s acceptable to violate some people’s rights a little bit if it will help the country solve a problem” is not an option if we intend to remain a free people.
So what does all that mean when it comes to taxes?
If we do have equal rights, then we have to admit that progressive taxation and President Obama’s Millionaires Tax are a violation of the property rights of the successful people in this country and must be stopped.
If we don’t have equal rights, then our politicians need to come out and explain exactly why it is that all men are not created equal and exactly which groups of people are superior to the rest of us (which you have to admit would be entertaining to watch).
Some people will say this is a silly point to make because Obama’s only proposing that rich and powerful people should contribute a little more in taxes – it’s not like we’re asking them to drink from separate water fountains here. But that argument is extraordinarily frightening – a violation of someone’s rights is a violation of someone’s rights. Denying a person his rights is always a tragedy regardless of who the target is.
We cannot allow ourselves to create this class of “others” by making statements such as “Oh, it’s just that group of people.”
Rationalizing why it’s acceptable to treat a certain group of people as less than human (ie. not deserving of their full rights) is exactly how a nation starts down the road towards major atrocities. It begins innocently enough by arguing that it won’t be a big deal if we violate this one group’s rights a little bit just this one time (for example, the rich can handle being taxed a little more).
But once you’ve opened up that window and accepted that our rights as humans aren’t absolutely sacred, then it’s much easier to argue for why it’s acceptable to violate those rights just a little more. And then a little more. Before you know it, the country is moving in a very dangerous direction towards real and tragic oppression.
That is why there has to be a logical foundation for everything we do in government. We can’t just take action because it makes us feel good or because it’s “fair”. That type of emotional approach to policy-making will certainly cause us to lose our freedom – it’s only a matter of time.
“[I] am aware of only two means of establishing equality in the world of politics: rights have to be granted to every citizen or to none.”
Alexis de Tocqueville