“Look, mister, there’s two kinds of dumb. A guy that gets naked and runs out in the snow and barks at the moon, and a guy who does the same thing in my living room. First one don’t matter, the second one you’re kinda forced to deal with.” – George from Hoosiers
So, we just learned of some moon barking in our living room that we’re kinda forced to deal with.
Liberator Online reported that:
“Chuck Collins, inheritor of the vast Oscar Mayer fortune and coauthor of a book entitled Robin Hood Was Right, has formed an organization with the unpleasant title of Wealth for the Common Good to…increase the top tax marginal income tax rate from 35% to 39.6% on household incomes over $235,000.”
Why should you care? Well, other than the fact that burdensome taxes are bad for prosperity, most small businesses pay income taxes at the household level so any plan to raise tax rates on incomes is a direct tax hike on small businesses, too – sole proprietorships, partnerships, S-corporations, and family farms.
Collins is looking for billionaires to sign a petition to deliver to President Obama asking the President to raise taxes on individuals and small businesses that have income of $235K and more.
To put this in perspective, that’s like asking guys who make $100,000 per year to petition the government to increase taxes on people who make $23 per year.
What’s this notion that one person personally feels like he should pay more in taxes, then takes the extra step to decide that everyone who he labels as “rich” ought to be compelled to pay more, too?
What is driving this? Guilt or compassion?
If compassion, why not give your own wealth to charity and then spend your time persuading others to donate as well, rather than trying to compel them to fund Big Government?
Charities are 120% more efficient, less wasteful, and more accountable than government. But then again, efficiency is a notion that earners, not inheritors, understand.
Chuck Collins inherited his money. Laudably, he gave much of it away to private charity and for all purposes seems to be a genuine individual who feels compassion for the poor.
That’s wonderful. But for this same reason, it’s perplexing to us that this inheritor wants to now pull real-earners into a Big Government tax fantasy.
Since Mr. Collins didn’t earn the money he gave away (a characteristic he shares with government), we might forgive him for not knowing how to use it to build the economy. However, earners do know what to do with their money. It’s vital to not prevent them from their role of creating value and jobs in the world, helping raise the standard of living for all of us, and building our current and future economy.
We of course advocate for charitable giving, and lots of it. But if charity just isn’t good enough for Mr. Collins and the billionaires he seeks, there’s no law preventing them from GIVING THEIR OWN MONEY to the government.
Just write a check and send to:
Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 6D37
Hyattsville, MD 20782
Why try to marshal the coercive forces of big government to confiscate the wealth of others?
Should we really be surprised that an inheritor of the Oscar Mayer fortune could be such a big wiener? (OK, that was juvenile but who could resist?)
This kind of thinking has plagued Warren Buffett, too. He has, on occasion, argued that he should be taxed more and that others should be forced to pay more dollars to the government, too.
When I read the book The Audacity of Hope, the passages highlighting exchanges between Warren Buffett and Barack Obama made me roll my eyes. Buffett spewed non-sensical platitudes about how “society” has been so good to him and other rich people, rewarding them with wealth, that he and they are somehow morally obligated to pay it back to “society” in the form of … (drum roll) … taxes.
Three things to point out to Buffett.
First, hey, we’re society, not the government. We’re the ones that buy your insurance and the goods your companies sell, not the government. You want to give back to society? We’ll be happy to take that check anytime you’d like. In the meantime, just keep creating valuable goods and services and we’ll trade with you voluntarily because you’re making our lives better off.
Just stop conflating “society” with “government” Mr. Buffett, OK?
Second, Mr. Buffett does pay more in taxes. Ten percent of $100 is ten times more than ten percent of $10. Yes, most of his income is in the form of dividends, not income (and dividends are taxed at a lower rate than income), but he could “remedy” that if he wanted to – just give the difference to the government or change his compensation structure.
Last, our biggest rub with Buffett is that he’s so darn insincere. When he dies, he’s not giving his money to government. On the contrary, he’s protecting as much of it as he can from the government – the Bill Gates Charitable Foundation will receive every last penny he controls.
Now, we applaud this! But we boo the Oracle of Omaha’s hypocrisy to wish higher taxes on others when he full well has spent his life not only legally avoiding them as much as possible, but also directing his fortune away from the Big Government entity he’d like to see others coercively fund.
It was Dick Gephardt who said, “Those who have prospered and profited from life’s lottery have a moral obligation to share their good fortune.”
This erroneous notion of life as “lottery” is what has misled Buffett, too. It’s a deterministic, fatalistic view of the world wherein some are predestined to succeed and some to fail and those who succeed do so only at the expense of others.
Of course inequities exist – some natural, some artificial – but they are not due to “life’s lottery” and the way to remedy them – if they need to be remedied at all – is not through confiscatory takings.
It’s like the parable of the Ant and the Grasshopper is a fiction to the Gephardts of the world. It’s as if the Ant really scratched a few numbers on a card and thereby prospered, rather than having worked all summer while the grasshopper played.
Perhaps inheritors such as Chuck Collins could be seen as lottery winners, but they’re not. Those who bequeathed them money were real earners who made real value in the world and had the right to transfer their private property to whomever they desired when they died.
Big Government has already implemented many “life as lottery” policies and that’s why it instituted a death tax to try and confiscate the property of deceased individuals and, ironically, prevent people like Collins from inheriting money.
In the end, even people like Collins should be able to inherit more than they currently do out of respect for the property rights of those who choose to voluntarily bequeath their private property to others.
If Collins can’t use his wealth to create real prosperity or give it to effective charities, or use his station to encourage wealthy people to voluntarily give, then give it to us and we’ll show him how!
You can let Collins know what you think here.