Today's Paper Latest stories Most commented Obits Traffic Weather Newsletters Puzzles + Games
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

There are probably some good reasons for opposing the recently passed Republican tax plan, including that it could increase a federal deficit that is already perilous.

The presumption is in favor of tax cuts because allowing people to keep more of the fruits of their labor is compatible with the crucial principle of limited government. But such cuts don't necessarily "pay for themselves" when it comes to government revenue, alleged economic stimulus effects and supply-side nostrums notwithstanding.

That deficit argument isn't, however, one that the Democratic Party can make with much credibility, given its longstanding enthusiasm for Keynesian pump-priming and contempt for the "green eyeshade" thinking of Republicans.

For Democrats, spending money government reflects compassion, arguing otherwise is mean-spirited.

That Barack Obama's administration blithely added more than $9 trillion to the national debt in just eight years further undermines Democratic credibility in this area.

Thus, with the deficit/debt line of attack effectively foreclosed (even if it shouldn't be), Democrats are left only with the bizarre but revealing claim that allowing Americans to keep more of their money constitutes some form of theft from the commonweal.

In Democratic thinking all wealth apparently belongs first and foremost to the state, which then is assigned the task of allocating it according to whichever principles it finds fair and prove electorally beneficial for Democrats.

Democrats, at root, don't believe that those who have been more successful and earned more money deserve what they have. And, as a logical corollary, that those who have less don't deserve so little and should therefore have more.

For Democrats, the primary purpose of government is to thus redistribute wealth, a perspective which, by definition, places a prior claim on all wealth generated. The idea of welfare-state socialism without substantial and constantly expanding largesse to distribute is inherently contradictory.

If you believe that all wealth belongs to the government, then it is also logical to believe that people are stealing from the government when they fork over less of it.

For Bernie Sanders, a bill cutting most people's income taxes represents nothing less than a "looting of the federal treasury." For Elizabeth Warren it wasn't tax reform but "a heist." Never to be outdone, Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic gift to Republicans that never stops giving, referred to the GOP proposal as "one of the worst bills in the history of the United States of America" and even "Armageddon."

Hell apparently hath no fury like liberals impeded in their efforts to buy votes with other people's money.

Built into such hysteria and demagoguery was not just a badly misguided view of the role of government but also a further shift in Democratic assumptions regarding private property and taxation, consistent with the party's ongoing lurch to the radical left.

In the past, Democrats attacked Republican tax-cut proposals, including those during the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations, as "giveaways," as if there was no distinction between government sending someone a welfare check and government allowing someone to keep more of what they had earned. Each was simply another government "benefit."

Not taking was considered equivalent to "giving," because, again, the money belonged to the government. Or, as Jonah Goldberg put it, "taking less money from you is the same as giving you more money."

But the current Democratic demagoguery regarding tax cuts actually takes this logic a step further--government is no longer just giving people something when taxes are cut, the people are now actually stealing it from the rightful owners (government).

The traditional relationship between citizen and government in liberal democratic theory is accordingly reversed: rather than the citizenry agree through the democratic process to offer up some of their income to the government in the form of taxes for public purposes, government now decides how much of its income the people are to be given.

"Theft" is the term many conservatives have used to describe the process whereby the state uses its coercive power to take the people's property. It is now the favored term used by liberals to describe the process whereby the people act through their elected representatives to get some of it back.

In the Democratic worldview, elected officials behave responsibly only when they increase taxes (and thereby provide more resources for government), never when they act to reduce them and leave more resources for the citizenry.

Taking money from party "A," who earned it, and giving it to party "B," who didn't, is the essence of compassion. Allowing party "A" to keep more of what they have earned amounts to "looting."

A key plank of Karl Marx's ideological framework, his dubious "labor theory of value," was that profits equal theft, with profits flowing from the root of all evil, private property.

All wealth in the Marxist classless utopia would consequently belong to the state, taken "from each according to ability" and given "to each according to his need."

Marx wanted to take all of your property. Democrats like Sanders, Warren, and Pelosi aren't as radical as that.

They will let you keep some, for the time being. And as long as you know it really isn't yours.

------------v------------

Freelance columnist Bradley R. Gitz, who lives and teaches in Batesville, received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Illinois.

Editorial on 01/01/2018

Print Headline: Democrats go full Marxist

Sponsor Content

Comments

You must be signed in to post comments
  • Dontsufferfools
    January 1, 2018 at 8:20 a.m.

    Did Obama add $9 trillion to the debt? Most nonpartisan economists blame the Bush tax cuts and the Great Recession, along with Congress's decisions on taxation and spending, for the size of the debt. Remember, it's Congress that authorizes all spending. Are contemporary Democrats Marxist? NYC, where Wall Street, the heart of American capitalism, resides, is a Democratic bastion. It is prosperous Democratic states and cities that contribute the most to the national economy and the federal coffers. It's the poorer, Red states that benefit the most from Gov't largesse. Now, most Democrats didn't oppose the tax plan wholesale. Many were amenable to adjusting the corporate rate, for example. However, some Democrats expressed concern about adding to the national debt, instead of paying it down, in the midst of an economic expansion. What happens when the next economic contraction occurs? Will we blow another big whole in the budget on stimulus programs? Will the tax pian just passed handcuff our ability to steer our way out of the next recession? With the next war always on the horizon, will we borrow to pay for the wars, like Bush and Congress did in Afghanistan and Iraq? My New Year's resolution is to not call perfesser Gitz an idiot. I feel that the word hits too close to home for the perfesser, and that I'm being unkind to the unwitted.

  • RobertBolt
    January 1, 2018 at 9:06 a.m.

    Gitz Goes Full Harpo Marxist

  • wildblueyonder
    January 1, 2018 at 9:16 a.m.

    Dr. Gitz nailed it and will soon be attacked by the liberal left in droves. The Democrats want people to believe the Republicans are only for the wealthy, including the super rich. Billionaires Buffet, Gates, and Soros are NOT Republicans! In the city of Little Rock, arguably the areas with the highest property values (i.e. the rich) are the Hillcrest and Heights and without question are overwhelmingly Democrat. So the myth goes on, that Democrats favor the less fortunate with so much compassion. They care for and seek only their votes and giving them a little in "benefits" seems to secure this. All this as Gitz points out is classically Marxist. The uninformed people are duped into believing that Democrats truly care and seek to improve their lives by giving them someone else's money in order to make things "fair". Social justice they call it. Concern of adding to the national debt is nothing but a ruse in order to make people think the Democrats are worried about it. People need to investigate and learn the truth instead of merely accepting the Democrat talking points and their false ideology.

  • lohr52
    January 1, 2018 at 9:36 a.m.

    gohogs well said

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 1, 2018 at 9:39 a.m.

    Gitz says "That deficit argument isn't, however, one that the Democratic Party can make with much credibility, given its longstanding enthusiasm for Keynesian pump-priming ..."
    *
    That is a gross misrepresentation of Keynes, Keynesian economics, and pump-priming. It's also a misrepresentation of Democrats since both Republicans and Democrats have passed pump-priming measures (tax cuts combined with government spending increases) during recessions ever since the 1930s. That--along with the Fed's cutting of interest rates and other measures such as federal bank-deposit insurance and unemployment checks to prevent crippling increases in bankruptcies--is very likely the reason we have had no--zero, zilch, nada--economic depressions since the 1930s. In sharp contrast, there were several severe economic depressions and financial panics before the 1930s.
    *
    Keynesian pump-priming is used sparingly and ONLY during economic downturns. It has nothing to do with this latest Republican tax cut which comes during a time of prolonged economic growth and low unemployment. During economic growth periods Keynesian economics would nudge taxes upward slightly to avoid a skyrocketing national debt. In reality, Democrats tend to consistently advocate Keynesian principles while Republicans are Keynesian economists only during recessions--because at those times they're justifiably afraid of causing another economic disaster like the Great Recession. Then, when each crisis has passed, they revert back to their belief in trickle-down economic theory which even some Republicans have referred to as voodoo economics. Trickle-down theory is based on the fairy tale that tax cuts will increase tax revenues. For short periods--during overheated economic booms--this might work out okay. But as we saw during the bust of 2000-2002 and as we saw again following the Great Recession of 2007-2009, economic booms come crashing down, producing sky-high deficits.
    *
    Keynesian economics only works if it's applied both ways--cutting taxes when appropriate and nudging taxes back up when appropriate. Ronald Reagan's presidency applied both. So did GHW Bush when he broke his read-my-lips-no-new-taxes pledge. Since then Republican taxation has gone only one direction--down. During good economic times Republicans are now courting economic disaster by embracing pie-in-the-sky voodoo and turning their backs on time-tested Keynesian principles.

  • TimberTopper
    January 1, 2018 at 9:47 a.m.

    Bradley may can teach political science, however when it come to economics he doesn't know whether he's taking a crap or winding his watch! And it's the same for those that believe his BS!

  • skeptic1
    January 1, 2018 at 9:52 a.m.

    The popularity of Bernie Sanders is a stark reminder of how woefully uneducated the country is and in particular our youth. Democrats used to represent the working man and woman and favored small government and strong national defense (Kennedy, Bill Clinton). The 1960s changed that when LBJ created the welfare state an unintended consequence of his war on poverty. Why would any thinking person believe keeping money they earned is a government "giveaway?"

  • skeptic1
    January 1, 2018 at 9:54 a.m.

    "TimberTopper says... January 1, 2018 at 9:47 a.m.

    Bradley may can teach political science, however when it come to economics he doesn't know whether he's taking a crap or winding his watch! And it's the same for those that believe his BS!"

    Says the man that cannot string together a coherent sentence...grammar not your thing?

  • WhododueDiligence
    January 1, 2018 at 10:23 a.m.

    "What happens when the next economic contraction occurs? Will we blow another big hole in the budget on stimulus programs? Will the tax plan just passed handcuff our ability to steer our way out of the next recession?
    *
    dontsufferfools raises exactly the right questions. For the 8 years of the Obama presidency Republicans have been expressing alarm regarding the growing national debt. Now all of a sudden, poof, all that alarm disappeared. Ironically, it probably disappeared in part because budget deficits are much lower in recent years compared to the huge deficits in the last fiscal year of Bush which ended Sept 30 2009 and the first fiscal of Obama which ended Sept 30 2010. So now Republicans responded by passing a big tax cut which is certain to increase deficits and our national debt. The alarm went from a loud shriek to--poof!--complete silence. And of course rigid tax-cut-demanding ideologues like Gitz blame it all on Dem bad-awful commies.
    *
    If we continue to only cut taxes and never, ever nudge them back upward, the national debt is certain to eventually become an undeniable major problem. As dontsufferfools suggests, this deficit-raising tax cut means we are running out of options when we're hit with another economic downturn. The Fed has very little room to cut interest rates since they're already low, and a tax cut/spending stimulus program could push the debt further into danger heights. Then what? Severe austerity measures? When and where has austerity ever worked? It didn't work for Hoover's Great Depression. It also failed during the "Roosevelt Recession" of 1937-'38. Few Americans remember the 1930s, so we've grown too complacent. We tend to think there couldn't be another Great Depression, but there could be, especially if we continue to follow the handcuffing trickle-downers.

  • notbot
    January 1, 2018 at 10:25 a.m.

    Thinking Arkansas wealth is concentrated in the Heights and Hillcrest is downright funny! Anyway, Gist still believes the wealthy haven’t figured out how to use loopholes to skirt taxes and reap a BONANZA from the estate tax!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT