Column on Revisiting Wealth Redistribution

Revisiting Wealth Redistribution

Tibor R. Machan

Statists
often clamor for wealth redistribution, mostly implying that the wealth
held by those who make or obtain it in the marketplace, without
coercion, is in the wrong hands and must be transferred to other people or
projects in dire need of it.  

Sounds
humane, kind, friendly, generous, compassionate and so on, doesn’t it?
 The wealth-redistributors can then brag about how they are the good
guys and intimate that those who do not want them to do their taking and
redistributing are just a callous, greedy lot.

Yet
if you look more carefully at wealth redistribution you find that what
the dispute is about isn’t really whether wealth should be
redistributed.  That’s because wealth is nearly always being
redistributed.  You may get a buck for mowing someone’s lawn but you
will not be sitting on it but usually go to the mall or grocery store or
movie and make use of it–indeed, hand it over to someone else who then
is going to do the same and this process just keeps going on.  Some of
the stuff for which the wealth is distributed will be consumed but then
the consumer will expand his or her time and energy to create some more
wealth.  It just keeps going round and round, wealth and its equivalent
being endlessly redistributed unless the tax-takers disrupt the process.

So
if we are all vigorously engaged in wealth redistribution, what’s up
with the claim that it is only the tax-takers who do it?  It is a lie,
that’s what.

What
really bugs the taxers is not that wealth isn’t being redistributed by
those being taxed but that where the wealth is headed isn’t up to them
but up to those who hold the wealth in the first place.  The tax-takers
don’t like us to have the choice about who will receive our wealth, to
whom and for what it will be distributed and redistributed, that’s
what’s at stake here.  You and I aren’t a good enough
wealth-redistributor, they are.  Mr. Obama, who declared to Joe the
Plumber, and Hilary Clinton who told that San Francisco gathering of well
healed folks that their wealth will be redistributed, do not believe
your and my choices as to where our resources should go are good ones
but theirs must be.

Exactly

what justifies this belief on the wealth-redistributors’ part is a
mystery to me.  Except it may just be the same as that of the bank
robber, burglar, embezzler, and any other confiscator of other people’s
wealth. They want it and will take it if they can get away with it.
 That they have absolutely no legitimate reason to believe that their
choices of where the wealth should go, to whom it should be
redistributed, makes no difference.  At least bank-robbers and their ilk

don’t insult their victims by making the incredible claim that they are
taking what isn’t theirs because their use of it is superior to what
their victims may have used the wealth for.  Politicians and their
cheerleaders, however, are
bald faced liars about this and try to peddle the myth of their superior
knowledge of what the funds should go for.  And since it isn’t their
funds–actually, their life and labors and inventiveness–but ours, they
pay
far less attention to whether it is wisely spend, whether the value of
what they use the funds for is well calculated and whether the funds
spent is done wisely and prudently.  The funds they redistribute turn
out to be mostly a waste
or precious resources, including, don’t make any mistake about this,
other people’s lives shortened by the process.

This
is in fact another instance of the tragedy of the commons, only here it
is brought about not so much by way of tragedy but out and out villainy
and obfuscation. The takers of our resources aren’t better qualified to
spend them than we are.  They don’t do wealth-redistribution right
while we do it wrong.  They just want to do it because they can, because perversities of the legal system make it possible.

It
is time to bring this ruse to an end.  Those people’s scam should be
shut down.  Their phony authority to take from everyone so they can use
it as they see fit–in the name that they are the nice guys who
redistribute wealth while we the greedy bunch intent on keeping it for
ourselves–must be abolished.  They should be sent off to join Bernie
Madoff by now.

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