Just remember, it’s an OUTRAGE! to say that in reference to the swarms of officers sent hither to harass our people and eat out their substance. It’s absolutely fine to say it about The E-ville Rich. It’s also okay for angry mobs to show up at their doorsteps in the middle of the night. Just so’s you know the rules.
Tom Perkins is not exactly a sympathetic figure, but the man has a point.
Perkins, a gazillionaire venture capitalist and cofounder of Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, took a well-deserved drubbing for his comparison of anti-“1 percent” invective in the United States with the political conditions leading up to Kristallnacht in Germany. His offense there was both against good taste and substance. He has something useful and true to say about the anti-democratic, illiberal, and periodically violent mood of Western anti-capitalism and the American partisans of class warfare, but none of that is very much like Nazism. Not very many things are very much like Nazism.
Actually, I’d argue that liberal-fascism is developing into something damned close; we haven’t reached the end game yet, but they share the same ideological heritage and many of the same goals and intentions. Not all, of course; present-day “liberals” reserve their nationalist tendencies not for their own country but for Muslim countries and the UN. Anyways.
Today, he is once again being locked in the stocks of public opinion for suggesting, only partly tongue-in-cheek, that people who pay an enormously disproportionate share of the taxes should have a disproportionate say in public policy. “The Tom Perkins system is: You don’t get to vote unless you pay a dollar of taxes,” he said. “But what I really think is, it should be like a corporation. You pay a million dollars in taxes, you get a million votes. How’s that?”
Cue outrage, etc.
But Mr. Perkins here has only taken a step that progressives took a few generations ago, when they embraced escalating rates of taxation as a foundation for economic justice, and applied it to a different problem. If our political liabilities — taxes — should be as a matter of justice proportional to our income, then why shouldn’t our political inputs be likewise proportionate? Why should proportionality be the rule in one context and not the other? The leap from “No taxation without representation” to “proportional taxation with proportional representation” is not a very dramatic one. But Mr. Perkins has been received as though he were the offspring of Marie Antoinette and an unreconstructed Ebenezer Scrooge.
Indeed, even proportional taxation was not, and is not, enough for our progressives. A flat tax on income would be perfectly proportional: A man earning $100,000 a year would pay ten times as much as a many earning $10,000 a year. Most conservatives would be perfectly happy with that arrangement. Progressives demand more. Not only must high-income people pay taxes that are proportional to their incomes, they must pay taxes that are disproportionately high as a share of their incomes: 10 percent of one dollar earned, 15 percent of the next.
The case for an income tax that is proportional is far from obvious, and the case for one that is progressive even less so.
Again, I’d argue with that one: I’d say their case is quite obvious, as long as you keep in mind that it’s not the one they make right out loud. The real case is that Progressivists want the One Percenters’ money to do with as they please, but they don’t want to have to earn it. The rest of Kevin’s arguments I can find no fault with, including–especially–this one:
The Left defends this arrangement on the grounds that the high-income have “benefited more,” but there is some serious question-begging in that proposition: People who can afford good schools benefit rather less from our government-school system than do those who can’t afford alternatives. People who finance their own retirements in many cases benefit less from Social Security and Medicare, our largest domestic expenditures, than people who do not. The very wealthy almost by definition benefit less from our vast and progressive array of federal taxes and entitlements.
But again, it’s not a matter of being truly “fair”; that’s just another word they’ve stood on its head to mean the exact opposite of its actual definition. It’s more a matter of what they want and believe they deserve–“deserve” being yet another of those words that have been redefined by “liberals.” The bottom line here is envy–and that’s a word they refuse to acknowledge at all.