I’ve always been a firm believer in the idea that what one has, he or she should be allowed to keep, assuming he or she hasn’t “stolen” it from another. I also hold by the idea that when people give you things, most particularly when they do so willingly, but sometimes, even when they claim they were not willing so to do, those things become yours.
It’s obviously true that when folks take what you have in ways that are illegal, such as by theft, those things don’t become the property of the person doing the taking. That being said, when there was agreement at the time a transaction occurred, unless someone reneges on what he or she promised or lied about what they were giving or getting, once a “transaction is complete,” those things “traded” become the property of the one or ones to whom they were traded.
This is important because it talks about the idea that when somebody possesses something, that thing belongs to him or her, and others taking it short of agreement to give it to them is unreasonable and unacceptable. As stated, there are obvious exceptions to this idea.
This becomes more complex when considering how government “plays into this equation.” Unfortunately, government can “legislate its way into ownership of” things to which it has no natural or proper right.
Government’s ability to do this is limited by the form of said government. In the United States, government on various levels is not supposed to be able to take from those governed without the “consent of the governed.” That idea has been “bent” by the idea that those in authority are there “at the behest of the governed.” This concept is broken, since the government is supposed to operate under a set of guiding rules, laws and principles set forth in founding documents (read here, The Constitution and Declaration of Independence) and other enacted laws. This is conceptual basis of a Republic—that there is a set of base laws upon which the society is founded, and that government is responsible to live within them, as are the governed.
In the current day, it has become fashionable to insist that, the things belonging to the the more affluent in society, are “owned of them” as a result of impropriety of one sort of another. Where this can be the case, it is rarely true. If it occurs, they tend to be “found out” and appropriate action is taken.
All of this having been said though, what I have herein uttered is precursor to other thoughts.
The primary intent of this piece, is to talk about a couple of horrible misconceptions held by a good many (particularly younger, but some not so young) individuals.
The first of these can be more or less summed up in the idea that, “If we just took the wealth from the wealthy, we could magically afford to pay for a series of programs that would help those less fortunate, and it would be reasonable to do this.”
Even if I believed it would be reasonable to “help the less fortunate” in this way, and I don’t, there’re some things folks who believe it need to know.
To begin with, taking the combined net worth of the top 15 richest people in the United States, you would be lucky to hit one trillion dollars.
That sounds like an exceptionally large number, until you consider the Congressional Budget Office numbers for just fiscal year 2020, which talk about an outlay of 4.7 trillion dollars. As if this were not sobering enough, consider this. Again, according to the CBO, the anticipated revenue for the same period, is 3.6 trillion dollars. That means that the U.S. Is operating at a deficit (spending more than they’re taking in) to the tune of 1.1 trillion dollars.
Considering what we’ve said about what the 15 richest people in the U.S. are worth, it should be clear that if you confiscated every penny of their wealth, you could still not manage to pay for just the stuff on which money is being spent for which no revenue exists.
Now comes the first “kicker.” The U.S. on a federal level has consistently spent more than it brings in for decades, if not longer. A part of the way they do this, is to borrow from others—mostly other countries. And have we repaid the loans we’ve take out? Why, no! In fact, we’re lucky to pay the interest on what we’ve borrowed.
So not only are we using money we don’t have at present, we have done this for decades (and not paid back what we owed).
This means, we owe even more than we will spend this year—substantially more (probably ten times or more additional).
Add to this the idea that the budget for virtually every government program increases year-over-year. So we can expect spending increases without new programs. This doesn’t stop the federal government from adding to its list of programs—far from it!
Yet the hue and cry of very many (again, particularly young, inexperienced, and in some regards unknowledgeable) people, is to insist on the need for yet more, yet more comprehensive new programs.
To this point, we’ve only considered spending on a federal level.
To be fair, another thing most folks have no idea about, is just how much money spent on a state level, is provided by the federal government. For example, where Medicare is supposed to be a federal program, Medicaid is suppose to be a state program.
Funding for Medicaid though, largely comes from the federal government. It would be nice to take the time to discuss what that means to supposed state control of Medicaid, but that is a matter for yet another post. Sufficed it to say that the entity that regulates Medicare goes by the acronym CMS, yet their own website “expands the acronym to” the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That’s because they “oversee Medicaid” on a federal level. That would be one thing if they didn’t have the “right to” shut down Medicaid providers, based on refusing to use funding to “support them.”
The point of all of this? If you think increasing taxation on the wealthy will result in sufficient funding for more programs, you should know you’re massively in error. Doing so would barely provide a “drop in the proverbial bucket” compared to what’s already owed by the federal government alone. And that’s if you taxed them at one hundred percent.
As usual, thanks for reading, and may your time be good.