Once upon a time there were two boys starting their junior year in high school. They have been friends and classmates since third grade. They played soccer together for several years.
Bob is a white kid. His father is a finance manager in a mid-size corporation and makes about $90,000 a year. His mother is a teacher’s aide in a local elementary school. He has a sister who is in 7th grade.
Joe is a black kid. His mother works two jobs. His father abandoned Joe’s mother while she was pregnant with his sister who is two years younger than Joe. His parents were never married. Joe has not seen his father in 12 years.
One of the boys is active socially and has a driver’s license. He is part of the party scene and has started to party with the recreational drug crowd. He started with marijuana and has tried LSD. The parties he attends are unsupervised and harder drugs are becoming available.
Joe, on the other hand, wants to go to med school and is a serious student. He consciously avoids the party scene and has a part-time job. He maintains a 3.7 GPA.
Bob has seen his grades drop dramatically and in December he is arrested for burglary having robbed a neighbor’s house to get cash for drugs. He is given probation and his parents place him a drug rehab facility for 30 days. By April he is back to drug use but he gets through the end of the school year without event. In the summer, however, he is arrested again but enters rehab which is a condition of his probation. He finally drops out of school in January of his senior year and lives on the street. He is arrested a third time and spends a year in jail.
Joe graduates with honors and is accepted, with a scholarship, at a strong state university. He flourishes and is accepted at a top medical school. He finishes his residency and he joins a group of doctors in his home town. He has become a highly regarded pediatric surgeon and in time has an annual income that exceeds $350,000. In addition he does a significant amount of pro bono work with poor patients.
Bob’s life has spiraled out of control. He is unable to hold a job and regularly is admitted into rehab programs for drug and alcohol abuse. He has spent several years in jail for minor offenses. He receives payments from Social Security because he is “disabled”, receives welfare, food stamps and has taken full advantage of the Section 8 housing program. He is essentially a ward of the state.
So the question before the house is: What is the moral justification for taxing Joe to support Bob who has, for all practical purposes chosen to be poor and chosen to be utterly dependent on the government addiction program…his drug of choice being welfare? To make it worse the left preens itself immodestly taking full credit for generously addressing Bob’s needs. On top of that they vilify any person or group that suggests that maybe, perhaps, we should not feed Bob’s addiction to the life of a wastrel. The liberal tries to claim the high ground even as they ensure that Bob will, forever, be completely dependent on the “generosity” of the government. As Margaret Thatcher famously said: This will work until the left runs out of other people’s money.
The left commits two felonies to achieve this immoral position: Theft by putting a figurative gun to the head of working people to force them to pay taxes and Bribery by using the money to pay the welfare slaves to vote them into office. It is amusing to hear a liberal point a finger at a Republican during an election cycle and terrify their dependents by suggesting that a vote for the Republican will threaten the cornucopia of benefits upon which their constituents depend. The so-called War on Poverty has reduced poverty, well, not at all and Obama has shown his love of the poor by creating more of them.
And now along comes Bernie Sanders, a cross between Santa Claus and Nero. The only adjective he ever uses is “free” as in “free” college, “free” medical care and “free” housing. It is fair to say that he resides in an economic fairy land because as the sainted Milton Friedman famously observed: “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. Our debt is out of control (Obama has managed to double it in less than 8 years) and the only response we get from the progressives is to tax the rich including our good doctor Joe. As an adviser to FPR articulated the theory of the left is tax, tax, spend, spend, elect, elect.
But the sad reality is that many of the revenue programs concocted by the intellectual mediocrities on the left are flawed. Case in point, cigarette taxes. Obama raised the taxes dramatically in 2009 to support the SCHIP program. For the first year revenues flowed into the coffers of welfare drug lords in Washington. Then the same bunch of geniuses made it clear that smokers would pay a premium for healthcare, perhaps the only example in 75 years where the left actually tied behavior to benefits. To the surprise of no one but the masterminds in Washington tax revenues from cigarettes dropped precipitously. A rule that eludes the self-proclaimed best and brightest is that when you tax something you get less of it…tax smokers and, inexplicably, they stop smoking.
Take a listen to John Kasich, who is clearly running for President with the wrong party. He could join Santa Sanders and Hilliary without missing a beat. He suggests that we must not keep illegal immigrants from their “share” of the welfare pie despite the fact that many do not contribute to the size of that pie. This, he says, must be the case because we are a moral, religious country. To which I reply…that is true and you should make every effort to extend your good fortune to those who are less fortunate (through no fault of their own…see Joe and Bob above). But you do it voluntarily with your own property and when you do it we can all agree that you are a generous caring soul. But don’t use my money that has been extorted through taxes and then call yourself a caring generous soul when you are actually a thief.
The wake up call for all of us will be the collapse of our political and economic system…the blame game will be one for the ages.