Ben Shapiro: Be careful when politicians call for fairness

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Boasting his new $ 3.5 trillion tax and spending bill, which would drastically increase corporate taxes, personal income taxes and so-called sin taxes, Biden said, “He doesn’t not enough to rebuild; we have to rebuild better than before… I’m not here to punish anyone. I’m a capitalist. If you can make a million or a billion dollars, that’s great. God you bless. All I’m asking is that you pay your fair share. Pay your fair share like middle class people do. “

Of course, those who earn high incomes don’t pay like middle class people do. They pay a lot, a lot more. IRS statistics show the richest 1% pay more federal income tax than the poorest 90% combined – while the richest 1% earned 21% of all income in 2018 , they paid 40% of all tax revenue. The richest 10% paid more than 70% of all federal income taxes. In fact, according to the American Enterprise Institute, people in the highest income quintile pay, on average, well over $ 50,000 per year in net taxes – taxes less government benefits received – while those in Poorest 60% of income to receive net tax benefits. According to the Washington Post, the richest 10% in the United States pay almost half of all income taxes, compared to only 27% for the richest 10% of Swedes, 31% for the top 10%. rich for the Germans and 28% for the French. Top 10%.

So what exactly does Biden mean by “paying his fair share”?

Maybe he means simple slogans. Like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wearing a Cinderella ball gown emblazoned with the words “TAX THE RICH” at the Met Gala – a dress made by Aurora James, a woman who owes tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes and which has received more than $ 40,000 in federal pandemic aid – the class war slogan is more about the slogan than the class war. No Democrat seems ready to define what constitutes “fairness” other than “a word I use to flatter the rubes, while hanging out with the rich.”

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And Biden’s “fairness” rhetoric of course has to do with good economic policy. In 2008, then-Sen. Barack Obama was questioned during a debate on raising capital gains tax even if it reduced net government revenue. He replied, “I would consider increasing the capital gains tax for equity purposes. In other words, Obama explicitly stated that he harm the economy in the name of a vague notion of kindergarten of equality of result.

Ultimately, the notion of “taxing the rich to be fair” rests on a simple lie: the lie that the distribution of income is purely a matter of privilege or luck. This is not the case. Overall, in a free market system, the distribution of income is the result of successful decision making that must be prompted rather than punished if we are to see a more prosperous society. Some people play with the system; some are indeed beneficiaries of insider trading. But most of the successes in capitalism are due to innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. Biden’s “fairness” runs directly counter to these fundamental elements of progress in the name of political appeasement.

If we really care about fairness – a more nuanced and comprehensive definition of fairness that encompasses the rewards for productive decisions and the disincentives for counterproductive decision-making – we must abandon the politically convenient notion that those who earn more have somehow stolen the system and must be punished for their crimes. Lack of distributive equality is not synonymous with injustice, and anyone who argues differently is abandoning the real world – and the possibility of a better life for everyone – in favor of the flattering lie that all roads should end in the end. same basic material result.

Ben Shapiro is a national columnist whose work appears regularly in the Grand Forks Herald.

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