The debate over taxing the rich has reached new depth in the United States with a true man of letters entering the fray. Depth, that is, as in low point. What the essay by acclaimed and popular novelist Stephen King lacked in profundity it made up for in profanity: Tax me, for f@%&’s sake, was Mr. King’s eloquent plea to the government he so admires.
One of the freedoms that Americans of any income bracket still enjoy is the freedom to give more to the government than the government already takes from them by force. If you think that the government can spend your money better than you can, you are free to write them an extra check each year and hand it over with your tax return. King grudgingly acknowledges that he, like everybody else, has that right but that is not enough for him. He wants to see the state take more from ‘rich’ people, himself included, by force, and thus put it to better uses than the rich people themselves ever could.
The essay is a bizarre document of economic illiteracy, political naivete, plain arrogance and bad language. Of course, Mr. King and his ‘liberal’ Hollywood friends, like Steven Spielberg, know how to put their wealth to good effect. They fund fire departments and run loss-making radio stations. But not all rich people are that enlightened. There are some who also “give their money away”, such as the hated Koch brothers who fund libertarian think tanks (Cato) or fund independent, coeducational schools, such as Deerfield Academy. For these deranged people we thankfully have a government that has the power to tax, take the wealth from these retards and puts it to all the good uses that only government (and the Stephens, King and Spielberg) can really appreciate. But even worse, there are those rich people who do not even “give their money away” but who – can you believe this? – invest it. They expect to make a return on it. For themselves! Sometimes even by investing abroad. (How unpatriotic!) With proper taxation we could get a better society with fewer and smaller investment portfolios and more government spending. Who can’t see the beauty in that?
But here is a real highlight:
“At a rally in Florida (..), I pointed out that I was paying taxes of roughly 28 percent on my income. My question was, ‘How come I’m not paying 50?’”
To which the proper answer, in Stephen-King-lingo, would be: Why the f@%& just 50%, Stephen? Why not 75%? — Well, come to think of it, why not 80% or 90%?
Let’s look at one of those enlightened places where the rich have for some time been paying – what’s the phrase, again? – their “fair share” of 50 percent or thereabout: France. According to King’s logic this must be a workers’ paradise by now, complete with great state schools, social mobility for children of all backgrounds, all-round social harmony and a balanced budget. Maybe, Mr. King, you should leave Planet Hollywood for a minute, buy yourself a first-class ticket to France and look for yourself.
Meanwhile, the debate in France is all about how to tax the ‘rich’ more. In progressive France, Mr. King’s ideas are way behind the curve. They seem positively, well, reactionary.
“50% taxes for the rich? Stephen, mon ami, what are you? A Republicain?”
Soon-to-be President Francois Hollande suggested that upward of a million euro in income, the tax should be 75%, while his left-wing challenger, Jean-Luc Melenchon suggested that from a certain level the tax should be 100%, meaning that a maximum income is established, upwards of which everything will be taxed away and go to the state.
You see, Stephen, that is the problem with a ‘fair share’. Fairness is in the eye of the beholder.
What Stephen King and his rich ‘liberal’ friends don’t get is this: The government never has enough money. The state cannot handle money, period. It needs more and more. That is the nature of the state, in particular the nature of a modern social-democratic state that depends on the votes of the masses.
Every prosperous and peaceful society depends on social cooperation. Social cooperation has to be voluntary and contractual and therefore has to be based on the institution of private property. Our problem – in the U.S. and in France and elsewhere – is that we have too much government, which, by definition, is the negation of liberty, and which always replaces voluntary and free interaction with forced reallocation of resources and forced redirection of human action. The problem is not that the state has too little funds but that it has too much power.
But I doubt that Mr. King nor any of his friends have any understanding of what makes a prosperous and free society. As an example of the social mobility that was supposedly once possible in America thanks to government, Mr. King cites Barack Obama. I guess that is his idea of what America needs: lawyers, community organizers and politicians. And that is supposed to be the American dream?
Such opinions are indicative of the intellectual decline that drives our social and economic decline: According to our opinion moulders, politicians are better than businessmen, charity is better than business, taxation is better than investing.
“Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad.”
In the meantime, the debasement of paper money continues.