We live in a time of world-wide economic difficulty, a time when everyone is cutting spending, tightening their belts and budgets, and preparing for some lean times. That is, everyone except for the world governments. They, some some reason, have ballooning budgets and unchecked ambition for expansion. (President Obama promised 3% of the national GDP for development of science technologies today. He forgets that social security and other national obligations of debt already eclipse the GLOBAL gross domestic product.) So where is the funding for these programs to come from, with money so scarce among the citizenry? For politicians who have won office on the vote of the poor, the answer comes easily: tax the wealthy.
But what happens when a majority of voters chooses to strip the rights of the few? What happens when we begin to single out members of society to carry a country's financial burdens? Can a country sustain itself with such policies? Can we escape a recession with such legislative looting?
Andrew Lloyd Webber, the British broadway behemoth, spoke out today against a new 50% income tax on in an editorial in the London Daily Mail. Great Britain has upped their 40% income tax with a 50% income tax on anyone earning over 150,000 pounds. Here's what he had to say:
"The opinion polls have uttered. The country loves the new 50 per cent top rate of income tax. Soak the rich. Smash the bankers. So Government spin doctors are in second heaven...
The next few years are going to be horrendous in the UK. The last thing we need is a Somali pirate-style raid on the few wealth creators who still dare to navigate Britain's gale-force waters...
I write this article because I fear the inevitable exodus of the talent that can dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. It is inevitable, given that other countries are bidding for entrepreneurs. The Government must modify its proposals...
So I ask the Government to reconsider what it is doing. More than ever before we need to keep high-flying professionals in the UK. We can't, as we have done in the past, dump on them through penal personal taxation."
Andrew Lloyd Webber's points out that not only is such taxation unfair, it is ineffective. Industry leaders and highly-trained professionals, or "High-flyers" as he put it, are not going to stay in a country where they are enslaved. They will take their talents and the jobs and revenue they would generate elsewhere. Individuals who would generously "take one for the team" when done voluntarily may not feel so generous if they feel they are being robbed at gunpoint. They can afford plane tickets and they will leave.
His point is eloquently reinforced by an email titled "Who is John Galt?" sent to me today:
"We all hear about the need to protect patients' so-called "right" to health care. But we don't hear about protecting the rights of the doctors or the . This issue is eloquently summarized by Dr. Thomas Hendricks, one of the characters in 's novel, Atlas Shrugged:
'Do you know what it takes to perform a brain operation? Do you know the kind of skill it demands, and the years of passionate, merciless, excruciating devotion that go to acquire that skill? That was what I would not place at the disposal of men whose sole qualification to rule me was their capacity to spout the fraudulent generalities that got them elected to the privilege of enforcing their wishes at the point of a gun. I would not let them dictate the purpose for which my years of study had been spent, or the conditions of my work, or my choice of patients, or the amount of my reward. I observed that in all the discussions that preceded the enslavement of medicine, men discussed everything--except the desires of the doctors. Men considered only the "welfare" of the patients, with no thought for those who were to provide it. That a doctor should have any right, desire or choice in the matter, was regarded as irrelevant selfishness; his is not to choose, they said, only "to serve." . . . I have often wondered at the smugness with which people assert their right to enslave me, to control my work, to force my will, to violate my conscience, to stifle my mind--yet what is it that they expect to depend on, when they lie on an operating table under my hands?'
We need to protect the rights of doctors and patients to trade on a free market to mutual benefit. Otherwise we will see more and more doctors silently shrugging off the burdens of being controlled by collectivists."
We've seen historically what happens when a nation tries to enslave portions of its population. The population rebels, especially when the population is already a motivated and hard-working demographic. Look at the American Revolution. When Britain tried to impose taxation without proper representation on its hard-working entrepreunerial colonists, those colonists rebelled. Great Britain lost the incredible wealth and talent that developed from this continent by its targetted taxations. This sort of rebellion and exodus is likely to occur in any democracy where a majority mob vote determines to strip the rights of the minority.
Not only is targetted taxation a formula for economic failure, but it is a sign of a failing democracy. A democracy is a meaningless institution without guranteed rights. When rights are eroded for any portion of population, they are eroded for all. Those who find themselves in power with the majority in one moment are liable to find themselves isolated and enslaved as a minority in the next moment. We cannot expect the good favor of the Creator, or durability as a republic if we trample those rights that we once held to be God-given.