In a rare and stunning example of political honesty, a state senator admitted a common libertarian mantra on Friday: taxation is theft. Responding to an article on Elizabeth Warren’s proposed “wealth tax” written by American Enterprise Institute scholar Michael R. Strain, former Democratic Illinois state senator Daniel Biss candidly stated that taxation is essentially thievery.
"Warren's wealth tax is an extremely good idea. It is the tax-code equivalent of looting mansions." https://t.co/iIk46WMnAB
— Daniel Biss (@DanielBiss) September 6, 2019
Strain Rebukes Warren
In his piece, Strain argued that a wealth tax would be difficult to administer and would probably not raise the revenue that Warren promised. But of course, Warren and her acolytes already know this. As her economic advisors confess, high tax rates “are not about raising revenue”. Rather, they hope to regulate “inequality and the market economy” while protecting the democratic process. Wealth confiscation may be the only recourse we have to halt the “oligarchic drift” currently threatening to “kill democracy”.
Strain finds this reasoning unpersuasive. Using the tax code to “save democracy” simply won’t work, he says. Besides, any tax aimed at a particular group of people explicitly designed to diminish their political influence is “an abuse of government power. It is the tax-code equivalent of looting mansions.”
Admissions that Taxation Is Theft
But if Strain thought that the prospect of looting would put off his readers, he was wrong. On the contrary, progressives on Twitter were quick to expose themselves as fans of stealing from the rich. One user interpreted Strain’s comment as an endorsement of Warren’s tax plan. Another said, “looting mansions sounds perfect”.
Looting mansions sounds perfect let's get this done https://t.co/NBNnYNBcgk
— jeff_nadler (@jeff_nadler) September 6, 2019
Daniel Biss joined the Jacobin chorus, declaring that Warren’s wealth tax is a good idea precisely because it’s akin to looting. Indeed, Biss’s sentiments closely resemble those of a villain straight out of Atlas Shrugged.
Perhaps Strain was not so naive after all. By explicitly laying out the moral realities of the wealth tax, Strain forced progressives to acknowledge a statement that libertarians have long touted: taxation is theft.