John McCain’s fulminations against President-elect Barack Obama’s
socialism or infatuation with redistributing wealth were as risible
as would be former President Bill Clinton lecturing Pinocchio on
the evils of mendacity.
For the last
century, both the Republican and Democratic parties have embraced
the morality if not the economic wisdom of the progressive income
tax and government spending to redistribute wealth. The parties
differ in inches as how much redistribution would be morally or
But the Republican
and Democratic orthodoxy – held as fervently as the geocentric theory
of the universe before Copernicus – are wrongheaded. Morality and
economic prosperity militate in favor of turning the prevailing
progressive income tax scheme on its head. They also argue against
government redistributions of wealth through spending, including
the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Act of 2008, which was championed
by President Bush, Mr. McCain, and the president-elect alike. It
lavishly rewards the prodigal, financially irresponsible, and politically
connected at the expense of the thrifty and prudent.
are inclined to employ the taxing and spending powers to advantage
persons who wield political power – either singly or collectively.
During pre-Revolutionary France, the First and Second Estates were
exempt from taxation. In the United States, political power has
been progressively captured by the masses as barriers to voting
tumbled and checks against majoritarian tyranny receded.
Fein is a constitutional lawyer with Bruce Fein & Associates Inc.
and author of Constitutional
Peril: The Life and Death Struggle for our Constitution and Democracy.