Monday, September 19
The big noise is, again, President Obama's job's plan that will require a tax on the rich, the so-called "Buffet Plan." Now, I'd be ticked pink if all the Warren Buffets of America could be taxed out of their dirty business. What has Mr. Buffet ever manufactured, what has he ever done worth doing? He is a money-manipulator like George Soros, the sort of person our ancestors despised. Take all their money, I say, and leave real businessmen--who make, distribute, and sell things--alone.
That would not get us very far, as Rush Limbaugh has been saying. Successful people in general pay far more than their share of the taxes, and squeezing the porno-kings, Ponzi-schemers, and Warren Buffets who pay too little will not put us into the black. Mr. Limbaugh thinks we should tax the Democrats, but that is both short-sighted and unimaginative. If we started taxing Democrats, we'd quickly run out of them, and then who would be left for the Republicans to blame?
Rush is right about the basic point though, and this is a subject I have been meditating on for years. Justice demands that the guilty, not the innocent pay, and the guilty parties to the national debt are the congressmen and officials of both parties who took bribes and pandered to the lobbyists and ward heelers. When elected legislators and bureaucrats go into debt, it is their fault as much as it is the fault of the board of directors and managers of a business. Let the responsible parties be held accountable. If every member of Congress and White House flunkey who got us into this mess were held responsible, we'd have about 500 people to pay back the trillions of debt they--not we--owe.
Oh, yes, they'd whine, but they were happy enough to take credit for passing all these boondoggles. Now it is their turn to pay. But that is just a one-time deal. What we need is a system by which all elected officials are held responsible for the debts they run up. Naturally, we would then require them to put down a deposit, of some hundreds of thousands for local offices and some tens of millions for a state-wide office, some billions for the Presidency. Of course, if they went over the limit we had established, they would have to pay that, too, and no bankruptcy relief for politicians, nosiree!
"But then the only people who would get elected to high offices would be the rich and their flunkeys!" As if that were not the case now. Under my plan, at least they would have to buy their licenses to steal, and it would be fun watching them squirm. We should also have to make one minor adjustment in our system of jurisprudence. Politicians being politicians, the presumption would be guilt, and the dirty politicos would have to prove their innocence. Ron Paul and a few others would go Scot free; the rest would go where they belong.
Imagine Mitch McConnell joining Harry Reid, doing life at hard labor.
I turned 91 in prison
Doing life without parole.
"No one could steer me right,"
Obama cried, Obama cried,
"Ron Paul tried to learn me better,
But his pleading I denied.
And now I'm breaking rocks
Because I lied"
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.