America’s New Entitlement Monarchy

(A reader of mine from Germany writes) Dear Dr. Hurd:

The worker who earns only a small amount of money should pay no taxes, but his premiums for health insurance, pension insurance, unemployment insurance and long term nursery insurance. The wealthy people should pay a reasonable income tax of between ten percent and fifty percent according to their income and their ability. If you take ten percent from a have-not, he will perhaps have to die. If you take fifty percent from a millionaire, he will most likely still be a millionaire. In a democratic state the democratically elected institutions have to decide who pays what and to which ends the money is used .’ The government symbolizes “The State,” as King Frederick The Great saw it. The government prohibits the use of force between citizens by influencing all the complicated processes going on between people, companies, organizations, unions and political parties.

The government forces employers not to “exploit” the workforce by setting standards like minimum wages, minimum vacation time, the eight hour day, the forty hour week and social security premiums. As well, it forces the employees not to ruin their employers by wild striking, demolishing the factories or threatening the employers or their women and children. This is the kind of “force” the government should use, as we in Germany see it.

Dr. Hurd’s reply:

‘The worker shall earn this much and be allowed to keep this much.’ And, ‘The employer shall be allowed to keep this much of his profit, but not that much.’ By what right? By what standard? And how do leftists decide that a certain percentage is the magically right amount? Where does this incredible wisdom come from?

No answer is ever given, because the questions are never raised. It’s like the proverbial ‘elephant in the living room.’ Meddling politicians make these decisions for employers, for workers and for the marketplace and everyone assumes they must be the right decisions. Who rules the rulers? Who decides the standards for those who are supposedly morally and economically superior to all of us to impose their rulings on us?

Here’s a novel idea: How about consumers and producers making these decisions, without any government interference at all? How about employers and employees coming to agreements on their own, without any government intrusion?

It’s called a ‘free marketplace.’

If somebody makes ten dollars, a thousand dollars or even a billion dollars when people voluntarily buy his product or service, then good for him. Government has no more moral right to take 10 percent of that billionaire’s money than it does to take 10 percent of anyone else’s. In most, if not all cases, the billionaire will spend that money far more productively and efficiently in the private economy, either expanding investment and jobs in his own business, or spending it on luxury items that spur another business and create jobs somewhere else. Government offices that take the money in taxes will not do anything productive with it. But that’s not even my main point. My main point is that the money doesn’t belong to the government, and it’s not theirs to take in the first place.

Leftists, socialists, welfare state redistributionists and little fascists continue to assert their opinion, as if it were a matter of self-evident fact, that ‘The government shall take ‘.’ They ignore claims to the contrary, and they continue to operate on their own moral claim as if it were as self-evident as the sun, the moon and the sky.

It’s no accident, either, that social welfare statists quote people like King Frederick the Great. Wealth redistribution is the oldest form of government and social policy known to mankind. It’s easy to justify socialism if your method for doing so is to claim, ‘It has all been done before, therefore it’s right.’

People like Barack Obama are elected president as the ‘voice of change’ and then they proceed to do the same old thing that dictators, kings and other rulers have done since the beginning of government. The American Constitution was a unique and radical document in that it took away the right of governments to do anything other than what the Constitution specifically enumerated, i.e., to provide a defense and police force, as well as a court system to uphold contracts. It’s true that the tattered Constitution is now more of a symbolic document than anything else, but the radicalism of the idea remains for those willing to uphold that principle in the future.

The government, when acting outside the boundary to simply protect people from force and fraud, is the ultimate exploiter to end all exploiters. By telling business what it must do, it operates in the interest of (1) government and  (2) certain segments of the population (rich and poor) who exploit the rights and interests of certain other members of the population. This is true whether it’s a King, a Nazi or Communist dictator, or a Barack Obama doing the dictating. There are different degrees of dictatorship going on in each case, but the underlying wrongness of it all, in principle, is exactly the same.

I thought that we were past claims that the ‘German way’ or any other particular way based on racism, collectivism or any other notion of group rights is the proper way for human beings to live and prosper.

Apparently not, according to this nationalistic and statist reader. “Social progress” engineered by governments and politicians? This is “change”? Give me a break! We’ve heard it all before.

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