One of the things that drives me nuts in the tax debate about “the rich” and what they should pay is that nobody has the guts to say: Hey, it’s their money. (As a non-rich person, I try, with no avail when it comes to my liberal friends, to make the same argument about my money: I earned it,by golly, and I don’t want to give it to GM.)

Well, bravo to Bill McGurn! McGurn notes that Republicans always put forward functional rather than moral answers to questions such as those raised by Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist, in his filibuster last week. Sanders charged that millionaires and billionaires are “on the warpath” to keep from paying their fair share. McGurn asked:

What might a more robustly moral argument look like? For one thing, it would address head-on the rhetoric of greed. One of the Seven Deadly Sins, greed is usually described as an insatiable desire for wealth. If that is true, when taxpayers who want to keep their hard-earned money are compared to politicians who want to take it from them to feed their uncontrolled spending, whose appetite better warrants the word insatiable?

In fact, the desire for higher taxes often seems to justify itself solely by the motive to level down. Mr. Obama suggested as much during a televised campaign debate in April 2008. ABC’s Charlie Gibson asked the candidate why he wanted to raise capital gains tax rates even though the experience of the past two presidents-Bill Clinton and George W. Bush-showed that “in each instance, when the rate dropped, revenues from the tax increased; the government took in more money.”

Mr. Obama’s answer: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.” …

Americans are a more hopeful and less envious people than that. We are now hearing from them. Thus the heart of the tea party’s objections to the Beltway status quo is fundamentally a moral one: that Washington is arrogant about how it takes and spends our money.

The American people understand this. It’s not just tea partiers or those who work on Wall Street.

I was on a TV show last week with somebody who argued that “the rich” should make sacrifices to pay higher taxes. Somebody should sacrifice to pay for more TARPs, more bailouts, and earmarks for silly programs that help keep a local congressman in office?

But the real argument is that your money, whether you have a lot or a little, is yours. It should not be regarded as property of a government that merely decides how much you can retain. Reasonable taxes–of course. Sacrifice for an already absurdly bloated government? This must stop.