26 Feb 2021 With The Left Set To Fleece Woke Billionaires, The Right Should Help Them Focus
Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are learning a vital lesson up in Washington State: bowing to the demands of those who want to destroy you doesn’t appease them. It encourages them.
We on the right should not impede their learning – and must learn the same lesson.
Bezos and Gates are pretty woke. Bezos’ Washington Post, once a lefty but readable newspaper, has become a hack factory, a mere megaphone of leftwing shibboleths. No one sensible reads it seeking truth anymore; rather the left pulls fodder from its pages, unconcerned about its truth value, while the right ignores it entirely. His Amazon uses the viciously partisan (and corrupt) Southern Poverty Law Center as a “screener” for its Amazon Smile charity program.
Bill and Melinda Gates, meanwhile, seek to consign Americans to a meatless future, save for the lab-grown fauxfood they’re heavily invested in; demand that we further constrain our carbon emissions, even while they – admittedly some of the biggest carbon-producers in the world – limit themselves to cosmetic “savings;” and insist on endless COVID lockdowns without having given much thought to the economic impact of hamstringing the economy on those of us worth less than billions.
Despite all this virtue signaling (they signal, we enact the mandatory “virtue”), Washington lefties still want to make them … well, not go broke. Not completely. Not yet. But to fleece them to pay off their core constituencies. They’re pushing for a wealth tax on billionaires, starting at 1 percent. This would cost Bezos and Gates $1-2 billion per year each.
Only a fool thinks the left would be content, once this tax were established, to apply it only to billionaires, or to leave it at 1 percent. (Look at the history of the income tax.)
Normally, center/right lawmakers and policy wonks would rush to oppose such a measure. Wealth taxes are a terrible idea. All taxes for redistribution are, to some extent, theft. Wealth taxes reduce the divide between taxation and theft to the merest rhetorical tissue. For states they’re even dumber, as they often cause the highest earners to hightail it to less rapacious fields, leaving the extortionate states worse off than before the tax hikes.
But the awokening of the billionaire class – or a large part of it – has left us in a bind. These guys don’t just support leftwing positions. They support running us on the right out of civic and economic life altogether. This would mean the end of the American experiment of liberty and self-determination. And they do it because the left keeps threatening them, while we keep supporting them, up ‘til now, without regard to what they say or do to us.
This must stop. We’re not just Lenin’s capitalist hemp factory selling Communists the ropes with which to hang us. We’re in the impossible position of giving our hangman the rope for free while defending him against an army of his “allies” who are coming to – at the very least – rob him blind. Our defense is giving him the time and the resources to finish stringing us up.
That won’t do.
Of course, we must continue to support open and free markets and civic life – so long as we’re as welcome to participate as everyone else, and on equal terms. But we must not defend those who would leave us a choice of submission or starvation. For them, we must not only withdraw our support but match the threatened slings and arrows of the left with enough of our own that they realize that they can’t actively work to destroy our lives without our returning the favor.
Anything else is unilateral disarmament. Now that open war has been declared on us, we have no choice but to respond. Peace through strength, remember? There is most definitely a bear in the woods.
With that in mind, Washington’s center/right lawmakers should work with the left to ensure that any such taxes would land only on those who are trying to destroy American liberty, and could not be expanded. They might agree to write the tax into the state constitution, limited to multi-billionaires, indexed to inflation, and capped at 1 percent. Making it a constitutional amendment would keep it from being expanded later, when they could withhold their support for any changes.
Gates and Bezos might leave Washington, of course. But where to? Other blue states will target them the same way, especially the ones drowning in unpayable pension obligations, also a feature of long-term leftwing governance. But if they flee to a red state – taking advantage of our liberties even as they try to destroy them – legislators in that state should also craft wealth taxes that would apply only to them. (This sort of narrowly targeted legislation should be unconstitutional as impermissible private bills that are nothing more than non-judicial punishment – but the left exploded that protection long ago. More long-made beds to lie in.)
If the refugees-of-riches renounce their targeting of center/right lives and liberties, and again work for equal freedom before the law and in civic life for all, then the tax plans can be quietly dropped. If they keep trying to destroy us, we can chase them from state to state until their wealth is no safer than our liberties anywhere in the United States. And when they expatriate, they will no longer be allowed to participate in or fund American elections or interfere with American civic life. After all, that’s collusion, right?
Similar strategies could be employed at the federal level, where the left is coming for the billionaires despite all efforts to buy them off.
This is all pretty ugly stuff, of course. But we can’t stroke the hand that’s hanging us, and expect to survive.
Scott Shepard is a fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research and Deputy Director of its Free Enterprise Project. This was first published at Townhall Finance.