“Make the rich pay their fair share.” We hear this mantra from nearly every Democrat in this nation. On face, it sounds like a nice idea. Men like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Warren Buffett have more money than they will ever be able to spend, and their money can be used by the government to improve the lives of people who are struggling. Unfortunately, it won’t work that way. The cost of soaking the rich far outweighs the benefits and amounts to stealing from future generations.
First of all, the rich earned their money. The risks they took, the long hours, the innovative ideas. If getting rich was easy, we’d all be millionaires. But more importantly from an economics perspective, the money that the rich aren’t directly spending isn’t just sitting under mattresses in unused vacation homes. It is being pumped back into the economy, in VC firms helping fund the next great idea, in the stock market allowing firms to grow and hire more people, or into charities who more efficiently and effectively help those in need. When a liberal says we need to tax the rich, ask him to consider if a poor person has ever offered him a job.
Additionally, the rich just aren’t all that rich. The “1%” only earn a little less than 14% of income in the United States. Even if the government were to seize all of that money the government would only raise about 1.5 trillion additional dollars. For reference, major new government programs, single payer healthcare, the “green new deal,” and others have price tags in the 3+ trillion per year range. Implementing these programs would come at an enormous cost to the middle class.
The hit the middle class would take to implement these types of programs could arguably be worth the price tag (saying nothing about the enormous infringement of liberty) if what was being provided meaningfully improved their lives. That is not the case. Take single payer healthcare. Healthcare may be “free,” but citizens pay dearly in the form of wait times -- it takes weeks to get an MRI in Canada-- and quality -- thousands of Canadians come to the US for procedures every year. There’s a reason the United States has developed nearly every new drug and revolutionary medical procedure in the past few decades. Our healthcare system has too much government interference, but it is still a testament to the simple fact that free markets work.
I don’t have the space to delve into every item on the liberal wishlist, but consider the words of Ronald Reagan, “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.” The same can be said about the national debt. And like being targeted by a hit man, you don’t know you’re in trouble until it’s too late. A high debt to GDP ratio and inflation eat away at economic growth with an exponential effect. Economic growth is what allows us to live in a more advanced world than our parents, who in turn lived in a more advanced world than theirs and so on. When the government taxes and spends, they are robbing us and our children of a better tomorrow. I’ll leave you with a parting thought. Would you like to live in a society with the technology and medicine of the 1890s where everyone has their needs taken care of to the best of the government’s ability, or in the modern day.