Elizabeth Warren is one of the most dangerous politicians to emerge on the national stage in modern American history. She is taking the ideas of socialism and bringing them to the mainstream, hoping to imbue them with a Harvard faculty lounge academic pedigree of respectability along the way.
Her latest fiasco presents a concept that even her colleague confessed socialist Bernie Sanders has yet to advocate: the concept of annual asset confiscation (read: government asset theft).
Under the terms of Warren’s new proposed “Wealth Tax” the American government would do something that it has never done before, something that is characteristic of fascist, Communist, and totalitarian governments: the actual confiscation of assets, as opposed to the mere taxation of income.
The government would take 2% of all assets on those Americans with a net worth of over USD $50 million, and 3% of assets on the net worth of Americans over USD $1 billion, every year.
Before even addressing the Constitutionality of such a proposal (or the public policy merits), Warren’s ludicrous legislation presents a bureaucratic headache right off the bat: who, exactly, is supposed to be in charge of valuing these assets? Assets, particularly of high-income individuals, are particularly volatile.
Is the government now going to be in the business of employing an army of accountants to value difficult-to-price assets, many of which have no objective value?
Let us merely consider how the government is going to value: private equity, family businesses, art collections, coin collections, wine collections, not to mention assets that have not traded hands in years.
Government run amok…of course, the Democratic Party would love nothing more than to add a new army of well-paid government-funded bureaucrats to live in the Beltway and become loyal Democratic voters, ever grateful and loyal to the regulatory state for all of their benefits and privileges.
Moving on to the actual numbers in the legislation, who actually thinks that Elizabeth Warren is going to stop there?
As it stands now, the bill won’t raise a lot of revenue, and the wealthy, and their clever accountants, will quickly find every loophole in the book to get around paying this tax. After all, losing 2-3% of your net worth every year is hardly a matter of small importance.
In response to such machinations, Warren will do what every modern socialist does: demand “expansion” of the legislation in the name of the greater public good.
Warren will tell us that the bill has been so successful as it stands now…but it would be even MORE successful if it could take the original good idea behind the legislation, and expand it: to redistribute more wealth, to improve more lives with government programs, and to implement Warren’s vision of a Marxist society.
This legislation, of course, is just Warren’s opening salvo. If the Democrats ever run the legislative and executive branches again, look for the legislation to drastically change, both with regard to the tax percentages, and the thresholds at which they would kick in.
Soon, billionaires will face a 10% annual confiscation of their assets, and those with a mere USD $1 million will face a 1% annual confiscation.
Put it in other terms: this is effectively the same as saying that if you leave money sitting in a checking account for 33 years, the government has the power to confiscate it all. The Founding Fathers would be rolling over in their graves. What part of our liberal democratic tradition would ever suggest that a government could say to the individual: “You know what…you have too much wealth and I don’t like what you’re doing with it…so we are the government, and we’re going to empty out your bank account.”
Whenever we hear a Democratic politician discuss their “social justice” agenda, those of us who believe in liberal democracy, capitalism, and the Constitution should remember what “social justice” really means: socialist injustice.