Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Here You Go, E.J., You Asked and I Got You Covered

Last week, in an otherwise routine op-ed column in the Washington Post, the regular op-ed writer named E. J. Dionne inserted an aside, while comparing and contrasting GOP presidential candidates and fellow governors John Kasich and Scott Walker.  The aside was this, and I quote:

“As governor, Kasich pushed big tax cuts that included repealing the estate tax. (The Republican obsession with protecting large fortunes is beyond me.)”

Was that a challenge for someone to explain the "Republican obsession with protecting large fortunes", at least in the context of inheritance and estates?  I doubt it, but for God's sake, don't write it if you don't want someone to answer, least of all an M.I.T. guy when the columnist went to Harvard.  Oil and water, y'know.

Dionne could not possibly have written that line without some kind of innate belief that the possessions of an American default to the Government upon his or her death.  He uses the term "protecting" in the sense that we think "from something", so from what does he seem to think that is?  General Motors?  The State of Idaho?  Al Sharpton?

No; the only way that "protecting" makes sense is in his implication that either a decedent's possessions by definition belong to his or her heirs, or to the Federal Government.  So clearly one could turn the tables on Dionne and ask him the opposite question, or at least make the statement -- "The leftist obsession with confiscation of the personal possessions of the dead, over their desires to provide for their heirs is beyond me."

I can hear him now.  "But nobody needs to leave millions and millions to their heirs", or something like that.  Well, I don't mind putting words in his mouth, because it appears to me to be precisely what he is saying.  And I do think that needs to be answered, so here goes.

This is the United States of America.  It is a free country; free for its citizens to reach for and achieve their goals, not for the government as in Soviet Russia or Cuba, or other countries that people try to escape from, or whatever structure E. J. Dionne thinks is appropriate.  No, we mean free from the government.  We mean that government does only what it is, in the case of the USA, constitutionally allowed to do, and that taxation is at the lowest level required to provide the amount needed to fund it.

But possessions belong to the citizens, and taxation of possessions and income is a grudging action on the part of a free people's government to pay for it to perform its functions of defense, regulation of interstate commerce, the post, etc.  Taxation is the sad reality we pay for a free society.

But unless government concedes that, its lifers and their sycophants in the press will push to tax more and more.  They will tax until eventually, as has happened with E. J. Dionne and with the entire left, their conventional wisdom becomes one where possessions default not to the citizen but to the government, because everything innately belongs to the government and we hold them only with the government's grace.  What a sad, sorry existence such people must have if they have come to that.

So Mr. Dionne, here is your answer.  The "Republican obsession" is neither Republican nor an obsession.  Rather, it is a conviction, and a conservative one that is not associated with membership in a party.  It is a conviction that our earnings and property are to be protected -- from theft and from excessive taxation equally.  That our property, whether billions or one cent, innately belongs to us, and that it is government's role to protect it rather than to seize it in taxation.

I fear that if you have to make the statement you made, sir, you will never get it.

Copyright 2015 by Robert Sutton
 Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Sponsorship inquiries cheerfully welcomed at 

No comments:

Post a Comment