Good luck and high taxes

Good luck and high taxes, by Andrew Burton.

In 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama backed his call for higher taxes on the wealthy with the following piece of reasoning, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody invested in roads and bridges… If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Obama was surely right to note that most of us have been fortunate enough to receive help from others. And while those “others” were most likely family members and friends, rather than generally rude and lethargic government officials, I am not suggesting that government has no role in modern society or that taxes should be zero.

But … Obama’s statement is part of a larger effort by the left to further obscure the link between work and reward, in order to promote an ever-increasing and ultimately destructive level of income “redistribution”.

The need for government action is exaggerated in the public mind:

Provision of what we have come to call “public” services does not necessitate government action and government promises do not ensure provision of public services. Before they were crowded out by the modern welfare state, education, road building, old age annuities, fire brigades, and, sometimes, policing, etc., were provided by the private sector or by some kind of public-private partnership.

For example, roughly 80 percent of English adults were literate before the Education Act of 1870 provided a right to education to all British children between the ages of five and 13.

Conversely, government action does not necessarily mean provision of clean water (e.g., Flint, Michigan), speedy access to healthcare (e.g., Veterans Health Administration), quality education (e.g., inner cities in the United States), public safety (e.g., Chicago) or good roads (e.g., Washington, D.C.).

hat-tip Matthew