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The Throne of Fairness

In her remarks following the House passage of the tax bill last night, outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi made the following criticism of estate tax rates, which she wanted to raise much higher:

“To add insult to injury, [Republicans] have now added this estate tax provision.  An estate tax provision, now mind you, the Democrats’ side of the ledger benefits 155 million Americans.  In order for the President to get those terms accepted, the Republicans insisted that $23 billion in benefits go to 6,600 wealthiest families in America–6,600 families holding up tax cuts for 155 million Americans.  Is that fair? Does that meet any test of fairness that we have?  Again, this $23 billion not creating jobs.  This $23 billion increasing the deficit by 8 percent in the next fiscal year.

Think of what we could do with that $23 billion.  We could triple our research in cancer and diabetes.  I think that means something to all Americans, including those 6,600 wealthiest families.  We could give a $7,000 raise to every public schoolteacher in America.  We could create investing in new technology–780,000 jobs, 780,000 jobs.  Instead we are giving a bonanza to 6,600 of the wealthiest people in America who really don’t need the help.”

Once again, we hear the strangled cry of the defeated totalitarian.  All money belongs to the State, which is the wise and just avatar of the people’s will.  “We” could have done all sorts of wonderful things with that filthy money we’re “giving” to the Evil Rich.  Ignore her mindless babbling about jobs – Pelosi is a certifiable lunatic who squeaked later in the speech that “President Obama has always been a job creator,” which is technically true if you consider only six-figure government jobs.  Focus instead on this “fairness” idea.

There is no greater power in a democracy than the ability to apply “tests of fairness.”  It decisively places the power to chart the course of our lives into the hands of the State.  After all, you little people aren’t going to be the ones designing or applying the tests.  You will merely be given an infrequent choice from a limited pool of judges.  Most of them will come from districts where you have no vote at all.

Tests of fairness are a tool for promoting endless, and increasingly savage, class warfare.  Pelosi is explicitly declaring those “wealthiest families” as enemies of the proletariat and their glorious Democrat Party.  If letting their families keep their already-taxed estates after death is “unfair,” then they have no absolute rights at all.  Pelosi is describing those families as thieves, who are stealing money from cancer and diabetes patients.  A thief steals what does not belong to him.  If a person’s property rights suddenly end at the hour of their physical death, they never had property “rights” at all.  They merely had permission to use that property during life, which is an entirely different thing.

The system Pelosi and Obama champion is an utter and complete failure, whose impending collapse produces a desperate hunger for more resources.  That means the State will rule increasing numbers of people are “unfair” for resisting it.  Unfairness is the only commodity guaranteed to increase under socialism.

Pelosi’s notion of the State requires an increasingly thoughtless population to support it.  Few people are stupid enough to think the same government that blew a trillion-dollar “stimulus” and made unemployment worse will magically be able to conjure “780,000 jobs” with $23 billion.  If you can make people angry enough, however, they will stop thinking carefully about such claims.  The refusal to believe in statist fantasies becomes deeply “unfair.”

Naturally, “fairness” always involves rewarding loyal constituencies.  Pelosi went out of her way to advocate seizing money from the estates of law-abiding citizens, and redistribute the funds to the teachers’ unions – a gigantic special interest that is far better at donating money to Democrat campaigns than educating children.  Does anyone think giving them another $7000 per teacher will suddenly make our kids competitive with Shanghai?  Only breaking the teachers’ unions, privatizing education, and creating a competitive environment where good teachers can flourish will do that… but such a plan would be “unfair” to a union that donates millions of dollars per year to Democrat campaigns.

Socialists never want to talk about the “unfairness” of penalizing people for achievement with high tax rates, or handing out ObamaCare waivers to a favored few, while the rest of us remain trapped in the wreckage.  The arbitration of fairness is the redistribution of value, and that is both tyrannical… and impossible.  The fundamental reason for the economic catastrophe Pelosi and her Party have engineered is their mistaken belief they can control value. 

Asserting that a greater percentage of a person’s wealth belongs to the State, which can use the money in a more wise and just fashion, is equivalent to downgrading the value of that person’s labor.  The money is worth more to society if the State takes it, which logically means it is worth less if the person who earned it gets to keep it.  In reality, the value of an individual or corporation does not diminish because Democrats hate them, and it does not increase because Democrats need their votes.

A State that judges “fairness” does not govern you.  It rules you.  Every system for weighing and measuring fairness inevitably concludes that fairness = poverty, because poverty is the only thing they can truly redistribute.

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Written By

John Hayward began his blogging career as a guest writer at Hot Air under the pen name "Doctor Zero," producing a collection of essays entitled Doctor Zero: Year One. He is a great admirer of free-market thinkers such as Arthur Laffer, Milton Friedman, and Thomas Sowell. He writes both political and cultural commentary, including book and movie reviews. An avid fan of horror and fantasy fiction, he has produced an e-book collection of short horror stories entitled Persistent Dread. John is a former staff writer for Human Events. He is a regular guest on the Rusty Humphries radio show, and has appeared on numerous other local and national radio programs, including G. Gordon Liddy, BattleLine, and Dennis Miller.

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