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Free Will and Capitalism

The question of additional taxes on the wealthy is really a liberty and equity issue, impinging on the very entrepreneurial environment that made our country great. At the heart of any monetary decisions should be free will, not a free lunch.

Stop and think about it for a minute. In my adult life, in a free country such as ours, it is entirely my judgment as to whether or not I want to work hard and try to earn a lot of money, and/or risk my money via investments. Such choices are made only after careful deliberation. And one of the factors going into that decision is how much tax I will pay on my winnings, my successes. That is why it is unequivocally immoral that our government – or any government – should feel it has the place and authority to come along after I earned my success and basically declare that because I have done well for myself, I should have to pay more to that government. This is legal plunder.

I have right and the liberty to factor into my decision making process what the government states I must owe under law, and decide whether that amount and calculation would be amenable to my overall situation and goals. The government has no right to retroactively come along and declare that I must detract from my commitment to invest in my self, my education, my career, or anything else because it needs a greater revenue stream. Why should I, who have proven myself to be successful (according to the government) have to give my success over to people who have proven to grossly mismanage our country’s finances?

When people say things such as Exxon makes X so many billions of dollars a year and therefore they can afford to pay more, such a statement only reflects the gross naivete and ignorance of basic financial rules. Without a frame of reference, unless that number is coupled with how much money was invested or needed to be invested in order to earn that earnings figure, such a statement is worthless rhetoric. If a company makes $10 billion, but has $100 billion invested in the company (which is quite typical for major corporations), that would be a 10% return.

When put into that perspective of how much was invested to get that ROI, 10% isn’t quite so much. Would you invest millions or billions for the risk of a 10% return or the risk of losing it all? Most would not. If you have money invested in something like a bank that is a very safe investment, but you also get a pretty low return. If you are investing in something in which you have the chance of losing, you risk everything hoping to get that 10, 15, 20% return. With any investment, be it oil or a bowling alley business, you would not have access to that kind of risk capital unless it was strongly anticipated to get that larger-than-safe-return: you risk losing it all. And yet, many companies and individuals still make the investment. Good for them.

So then with those who were able to make a decent return on investment, Obama’s tax policies are simply a death wish for our country. If we go out in the free market looking at companies and individuals investing millions and billions a year, and the government leaves alone the ones who do poorly on their investments but leeches onto the winners, the successful ones, this is what it essentially tells them: you were so successful, we want and deserve a piece of your success. We are happy, though, to allow you to lose your money alone.

Doesn’t everyone see the lunacy and disingenuousness of going after the oil companies when oil is $100 a barrel but ignoring them when oil is $20 a barrel? Or screaming about their 4% profits yet say nothing about the government’s gas tax of about 18 cents per gallon? This type of targeted hypocrisy only supplies us with 1) more political posturing and talking points and 2) attempts at additional revenue streams.

About Alan Joel

Alan Joel has been a CPA for more than 40 years in New York City, where libertarians like him are few and far between. He discusses tax and politics at his popular website, www.taxpolitix.com. You can also find him at RedState, Canada Free Press and Examiner. Join the conversation!

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