Top Down

I enjoyed and recommend reading Daniel Henninger’s Wall Street Journal column, What Would Clint Eastwood Do?

Here are some of my favorite passages:

Taxes are a nation’s Rorschach test. In taxes you discover how a nation wants to be known to others. The burden of taxation may say that a nation more than anything wants to produce (say, Malaysia), or taxes may say that what a nation most wants is to be thought of as fair (Belgium).

What Mr. Obama wants, with the symbolic billionaire Warren Buffett propped at his side, is a wealth tax that redefines the U.S.

No more certain sign exists that a nation has chosen to step off its historic upward path than the creation of wealth taxes. A nation imposes a wealth tax when it wakes up one day to conclude that it has become embarrassed, rather than proud of, its wealth, which is to say, its national success.

We are not talking here about the vast wealth that closed, crony economies direct toward a small plutocracy and no one else, though this rigged scam seems to be Barack Obama’s understanding of the modern American economy. The reality is that since its inception the U.S. has been an open, free economy that let wealth, including vast wealth, flow to dreamers, geeks and college dropouts whose unpredictable success multiplied into greater wealth for others.

Henry Ford’s automated car-assembly line spawned a galaxy of parts factories filled with workers. Apple’s little machines brought forth a universe of devices and applications.

The timing of such productive explosions is mysterious. The Obama wealth tax will smother and stifle this mysterious force.


The Obama budget says one reason for its wealth taxes is to provide sufficient revenue to protect “the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs.” He does the investing, and the economy grows.

These passages stand well on their own, but I’ll connect two dots.  President Obama understands American society to be a closed, crony plutocracy.  His budget says that he now believes he runs that plutocracy.

He does the investing…

This sentence inspired the title of this post.  If Obama is going to take more from successful investors through a wealth tax and then decide to how to “invest” (i.e. distribute to cronies) those funds for the future, we are turning more top down.

I think we’d be better off if we let successful investors invest and keep the bureaucrats out of it.

By the way, where is investing for the future spelled out in the Constitution as a duty of government?

Also, wouldn’t it be great to see the “Buffett rule” be used to lower taxes for the rest of us, rather than raise taxes for the wealthy?  Is that supposed to make us feel better?  Man, I pay a lot in taxes, but at least the rich guy is paying the same rate?  Does that really feel better than, Now I am paying less in taxes?


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