June 17, 2024
When politicians fail at the basics of governance, they embrace moral crusades and moral hysterias.
For Democrats, taxes aren’t about revenue
For Democrats, taxes aren’t about revenue

Perhaps the strangest utterance of Barack Obama’s career in public office — a career that was full of utterly bizarre pronunciations of many kinds on many subjects — was his 2008 claim that raising taxes on the wealthy is a moral imperative, even if the tax increase in question ended up reducing overall federal revenue.

Which is to say, Obama argued that it did not matter whether a tax increase hurt the Treasury, so long as it also hurt, at least in theory and on paper, certain wealthy people. That wasn’t a one-off: In his crackpot speech in Osawatomie, Kan., during which he tried to reanimate Teddy Roosevelt’s “new nationalism” cult (this was back before progressives had decided that to use the word “nationalism” in public was akin to shouting “Sieg heil!”), he took a similarly moralizing approach. “Our tax code must reflect our values,” he proclaimed.

Why?

Here is a brief outline of how government under a liberal-democratic regime such as our own is supposed to work: People by nature have certain rights, and these do not come from the state; the American proposition is that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Government does not give us these rights (life, liberty, and property prominent among them) but rather is an instrument we create to secure those rights. We do not give up our right to liberty or to property to the state — we can’t; that’s what “unalienable” means — but we can delegate some of our power to the state to protect them. Complementing that, we pool some of our resources to procure certain “public goods” such as courts of law and border guards, certain kinds of infrastructure, and the preservation of nature. None of that is free, and so we agree to pay certain taxes in order to secure both our own individual rights and certain shared interests.

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See Also:

(1) What the Next Democratic President Has in Store for Us, with or without Congress

(2) The Problem with Impeachment

(3) Lou Dobbs Tells Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer to ‘Go to Hell’ Over Impeachment Inquiry

(4) Judicial Watch Sues State Department for Records on Firing of Biden-Ukraine Prosecutor

(5) Mike Pompeo fights House subpoenas in impeachment counteroffensive

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