Democrats, Poverty, and Rich Bashing
Tibor R. Machan
by Tibor R. Machan
the scramble among Democratic presidential hopefuls to appeal to
voters in the various states about to have primaries is not a pleasant
experience. What has come to be the main theme of these candidates
is the refrain that whoever isnít rich, whoever has had a brush
with poverty at anytime in his or her life, must want and is fully
entitled to have governments engage in massive, relentless wealth
redistribution. This is a pitiful and quite disgusting message to
put out in America, the country to which the poor of the world used
to and often still flock precisely to escape their poverty through
hard work, entrepreneurship, and ingenuity.
can only hope that even those who are poor will repudiate such condescension
from the politicians who think their job description is first and
foremost to take from Peter and hand it over to Paul. One can only
hope that voters will eventually realize that the promises made
to them by Gephardt, Dean, Edwards, Lieberman and the rest, pertaining
to how they will be Santa Claus to everyone based on a vigorous
tax and spend policy, should be rejected. Perhaps the voters will
realize that such wealth redistribution is precisely what will ultimately
lead to widespread impoverishment, not enrichment, which is the
real goal of most people who are poor.
doesnít take a genius to figure out that no wealth is created when
you do what nearly all of the Democratic presidential hopefuls want
to do, namely, simply reshuffle existing wealth, from those who
have it (either from having earned or from having lucked into it),
to those who lack it.
transfers like that do not create anything at all. What they do
produce is resentment and attitudes of class warfare, instead of
a sense of achievement and overall prosperity. That the Democratic
candidates actually believe that what Americans who lack wealth
want is to have such wealth be taken at gun point from those who
have it and hand it over to them though not before a sizable bureaucracy
skims off a goodly portion of it testifies to how little they think
of the people whose votes they desire.
course, those very voters may not have sufficient self-respect and
self-confidence to rebuff these candidates and deny them their votes.
Many of the poor and even not so poor have accepted the phony idea
that to get rich requires stealing from those who have more than
they do. Many Americans have indeed reverted to a zero-sum idea
of economic progress, one that ruled the world prior to the emergence
of capitalism. This view had tied all wealth accumulation to conquest.
Leaders of countries relied not on vigorous production, free trade,
and commerce so as to generate wealth but on invasion, murder, and
robbery. It was only after the likes of the Scottish economic genius
Adam Smith the author of The
Wealth of Nations taught the world that wealth comes
from the freedom to work and trade, not from the coercive policies
conquest and robbery, that prosperity began to reach nearly everyone
in Western societies.
the Democrats and their reactionary academic gurus are peddling
the notion that what will make people rich is, once again, raiding
the wealth of those who are already rich. More taxation, they scream,
not more production and free trade. These pathetic people are counting
on voters to be motivated not from an honest desire to become prosperous one
that would incline a person to work harder, to invest wisely, and
to save prudently. No, they hope that voters are motivated from
rank envy, the desire to bring down those who have it better than
they do. And to fuel this envy good and hard, these vile politicians
are preaching class warfare and zero-sum political economy.
a great many Americans have in fact become so corrupt in their hearts
and minds that they will reward these politicians with their support.
Perhaps the spirit of American capitalism, consisting mainly of
the intention to produce and compete for customers has been eclipsed
by such reactionary economic hogwash. If that is so, the Democrats
who try to appeal to such obsolete ideas about political economy
will become victorious.
there is no serious opposition to their vile pitch from Republicans.
The GOP today is openly intent on out-promising the Democrats and
on winning by an appeal to a no less disgusting human motive, namely,
imperial political conquest. So, we arenít likely to see any development
in the next few years that will really bring serious prosperity
to the poor or anyone else.
it is worth noting just how low politicians are when they want to
achieve power. They do not hesitate in the slightest about going
to the people and counting on their ignorance and worst attitude.
him mail] holds
the Freedom Communications Professorship of Free Enterprise and
Business Ethics at the Argyros School of Business & Economics, Chapman
University, CA. A Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford
University, he is author of 20+ books, most recently, The
Passion for Liberty
(Rowman & Littlefield, 2003).
Copyright © 2004 Tibor Machan