Somebody once said that envy is the only one of the Seven Deadly Sins that isn’t any fun.
Somebody should tell President Obama that as the president tries to stoke the fires of envy to obscure the government's role in our current economic woes and to use envy as a pretext for increasing taxes on rich citizens. Bear in mind that there probably aren't enough rich people on the planet to support a government of the size it will be in a decade or so if current trends aren't reversed!
An appeal to envy is what is behind the left’s obsession with income inequality. Indications are, however, that the American people aren’t buying it. Jennifer Rubin has a good blog on this today.
Rubin argues that most Americans think our system is pretty fair, even as our president is trying hard to convince us otherwise. Rubin quotes the oft-cited Gallup poll that found that Americans are more interested in economic growth than in income equality.
The furor over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, which show that his current income derives from investments, reflects a disturbing trend in some quarters to regard money earned from investments as somehow tainted (many people might call it “unearned,” forgetting that it had to be earned before it could be invested).
The gem of Rubin’s item is a quote from an email from Grover Norquist, who was reacting to attacks on Mitt Romney because his current income is derived from investments:
The idea that there is something illegitimate about money earning interest or investing one’s savings expecting a profit was widely held in 13th century Rome. That was not conservatism. It predated free markets, modern economics and a recognition of the time value of money. I am not sure I want to go back to the economic illiteracy of the 13th century or the hate and envy politics of 1950s East Germany.
“Fairness,” as currently used, often means just the opposite: it means pulling people down because we envy them. Envy, pure and simple, is one of the president’s justifications for raising taxes (of course, he dresses it up as fairness, as if it is fair to extract more money from any citizen to be used in non-productive ways by the government).
Speaking of the effect of high taxes, an item on the American Thinker showed a disturbing one: people living abroad who renounce U.S. citizenship because of high taxes. Renunciations have soared:
In FY 2010, that number soared to 1,534, an increase of 950% – and no, that is not a misprint. 950%.
And in just the first two quarters of FY 2011, 1,024 of our fellow citizens decided that they would rather not be Americans than have their wealth confiscated to feed the fires of fairness.
Someone needs to tell Barack, Harry and Nancy that one doesn't need to enter a voting booth to express one's opinion on U.S. tax policy. There is a second option.
Of course, this is a distressing option and I hope anyone who is so tempted will make sure to first read the “The Man without a Country,” Edward Everett Hale’s story about Philip Nolan, a man who didn’t realize how much he loved his country until it was too late.
Still, we should not be surprised that citizens, like large corporations, may be willing to explore all options if taxed too heavily. President Obama is using envy as a pretext for doing just this.