If Smith Grows an Apple and Eats It, Does the Apple Come from Jones?

by Don Boudreaux on August 23, 2010

in Myths and Fallacies, Other People's Money, Taxes

Here’s a letter to the New York Times:

Reasonable people can debate whether or not raising taxes is a sound means of funding government spending, but Paul Krugman isn’t reasonable (“Now That’s Rich,” August 23).  Instead, he slings mud and insinuates that the proper relationship between Americans and their government is exactly the opposite of what the founders expressly took this relationship to be.

For government not to raise taxes on high-income earners is not, contrary to Mr. Krugman’s assertion, for government “to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.”  No checks will be cut and no money will be taken from anyone.

All income is earned by individuals.  It originates as their property and not that of any government or of some collective ‘us.’  Even if this money is deemed necessary to keep Uncle Sam solvent, remember that this government was created to protect individual rights that each of us receives from our “Creator” – that is, rights existing independently of any state.  In contrast, according to Mr. Krugman’s mystical political dogma, all property (and, hence, each right) originates in government.  Government is elevated to the status of Creator, while each individual is thereby reduced to the status of a serf living at the favor and pleasure of government.  That belief, if pursued consistently, leads to the greatest tyranny.

Donald J. Boudreaux


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