by John Stossel
Progressives want to raise taxes on individuals who make more than $200,000 a year because they say it’s wrong for the rich to be “given” more money. Sunday’s New York Times carries a cartoon showing Uncle Sam handing money to a fat cat. They just don’t get it.
As I’ve said before, a tax cut is not a handout. It simply means government steals less. What progressives want to do is take money from some — by force — and spend it on others. It sounds less noble when plainly stated.
That’s the moral side of the matter. There’s a practical side, too. Taxes discourage wealth creation. That hurts everyone, the lower end of the income scale most of all. An economy that, through freedom, encourages the production of wealth raises the living standards of lower-income people as well as everyone else.
A free society is not a zero-sum game in which every gain is offset by someone’s loss. As long as government keeps its thumb off the scales, the “makers” who get rich do so by making others better off. (When the government allocates capital or creates barriers to competition, all bets are off.)
Of course, this is not the prevailing view among the intelligentsia. Columbia University Professor Marc Lamont Hill tells me, “Those who have more should pay more.”
But is there a point where they stop producing wealth or leave altogether?
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