Are you poorer now than you were a few years ago?

If you’re like most Americans, you have a diminished 401-K.

But rejoice!

We’re keeping those pesky rich folks from getting richer! Isn’t that worth losing a little of your own nest egg?

That seems to be the economic theory animating the current administration.

Victor Davis Hanson, classicist and essayist of the first order, explains:

The more his administration castigates insurers, businesses, and doctors; raises taxes on the upper income brackets; and imposes additional regulations, the more those who create wealth are deciding to sit out, neither hiring nor lending. The result is that traditional self-interested profit-makers are locking up trillions of dollars in unspent cash rather than using it to take risks, since they will likely either lose money due to new red tape or see much of their profit confiscated through higher taxes.

No wonder that in such a climate of fear and suspicion, unemployment remains near 10 percent. Deficits chronically exceed $1 trillion per annum. And now the poverty rate has hit a historic high. We are all getting poorer in hopes that a few won’t get richer.

One of the interesting-if that isn’t too mild a word!-aspects of this kind of thinking is that it is a throwback to the past, before the dynamic of capitalism and individualism developed:

Traditional peasant societies believe in only a limited amount of good. The more your neighbor earns, the less someone else gets. Profits are seen as a sort of theft; they must be either hidden or redistributed. Envy, rather than admiration of success, reigns.

Citizens of ancient Greece and Italy soon proved more prosperous and free than either the tribal folk to the north and west or the imperial subjects to the south and east. The success of later Western civilization in general, and America in particular, is a testament to this legacy of the freedom of the individual in the widest political and economic sense.

Okay, things are bad.

But we’re at least making sure the rich don’t get richer.

Unfortunate that it costs us so much.