Issues & Insights

The Democrats’ Debate Was Unconstitutional

I&I Editorial

Tuesday night’s CNN/New York Times debate of the Democratic presidential candidates was filled with propositions to radicalize American society, from confiscation of law-abiding citizens’ guns to adopting Canada’s single-payer health system but somehow “we’re going to do better than the Canadians do,” as Sen. Bernie Sanders promised without extrapolating, to imprisoning executives of companies that pioneer life-saving medicines.

But, astonishingly, it also showcased casual discussion of the federal government adopting policies that would stab the Constitution of the United States in the heart – in particular those of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

“Understand,” she said. “Taxing income is not going to get you where you need to be the way taxing wealth does.”

Warren once again would not answer whether or not her version of Medicare For All, likely to cost at least $32 trillion – with a T – over a decade, would require middle class tax increases. Yet at the same time, she isn’t shy about proposing an entirely new frontier in taxation: the government going after not just your paycheck but your bank account and nest egg.

According to Marx, “communism is the positive expression of annulled private property” – annulled because of what Marxists believe property to be: “Private property is the result of alienated labor. Private property is also the means by which labor is alienated.”

“The rich are not like you and me,” Warren said. “The really, really billionaires are making their money off their accumulated wealth, and it just keeps growing. We need a wealth tax in order to make investments in the next generation” – “investments” being a euphemism for lots more government spending. Warren would swipe 2% annually out of fortunes exceeding $50 million, plus 1% on wealth over $1 billion.

Many of her rivals were little better. South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg said, “I’m all for a wealth tax.” Billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer bragged, “I was one of the first people on this stage to propose a wealth tax.” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar said, “It could work. I am open to it.”

Taxing Assets Vs. The Bill Of Rights Protecting Property

It could “work” except for one rather large obstacle standing in its way: that document the Framers forged inside Independence Hall in Philadelphia in 1787, and its Bill of Rights ratified by the states four years later.

The Constitution protects private property from the greedy hand of government. The Fourth Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects” – i.e. their property – from search not based on reasonable suspicion of a crime. The Fifth Amendment assures that “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.”

So when the government builds a highway through your land (because a highway has to go through some unlucky person’s land), it isn’t allowed to steal your land; it has to pay you its fair market value as compensation. Of Warren’s wealth tax, Heritage Foundation research fellow Joel Griffith warns: “seizing this private property without just compensation would clearly violate the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause.”

The Constitution prohibited even an unapportioned direct tax on income until the 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913.

When it was his turn, tech guru Andrew Yang rebutted Warren with the practical point that a wealth tax was “tried in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and all those countries ended up repealing it because it had massive implementation problems and did not generate the revenue that they’d projected.”

The Democrats on the Westerville, Ohio, stage complained of “unfettered capitalism” despite a Federal Register exceeding 60,000 pages. Warren calls her Marxist confiscation of private assets “accountable capitalism.”

She can call socialism capitalism as much as she wants. Fortunately for the American people, the Bill of Rights protects property, and as long as we have federal courts left that follow the Constitution as written, a far left president will be prevented from engaging in such outright theft disguised as taxation.

— Written by Thomas McArdle

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  • The “Wealth tax” is merely another leftist euphemism for another sin they approve of–this was called envy for thousands of years, but those old unenlightened people were foolish enough to be honest about it.

  • We have come to a crossroads in America – Capitalism versus Socialism or Liberty versus Tyranny.

    Capitalism is derived from the latin word for head which means “caput”. Capitalism is the mind-based system. The key characteristic of the human mind is that we are creative.

    Creativity is the foundation of Capitalism.

    Albert Hershmann (Princeton economist) — “creativity always comes as a surprise to us and if it didn’t planning would prevail and socialism would work”

    The Progressive’s mindset bases all of their decisions on science and knowledge. The fact is, Progressivism is based on an ideology, doctrine and/or Dogma. It is really “Google Marxism.” (Life after Google – Book)

    Karl Marx’s great error or great mistake was to imagine that the industrial revolution of the 19th Century with all of the new railways, mill’s, factories, turbines, the beginning of electricity, etc. represented the final human attainment/achievement in productivity. So, in the future, what would matter is not the creation of wealth, but the redistribution of wealth.

    Socialism is based on planning upon the assumption that we already know all what that we need to know in order to plan our futures. This mindset always leads to tyranny.

    This is the general problem with Progressivism — they think they know all they need to know. Now it is about redistributing ideas, wealth, etc. which is easy to understand. However, the future is unpredictable. In order to deal with it successfully you will have to learn.

    Learning has many constraints … Economic growth is the increase of knowledge and the increase of knowledge is learning. The most documented phenomena in all business is the “learning curve”. With all the doubling of total sales you get a 20% to 30% drop in costs. This drop in cost is evident across all industries.

    Learning is the heart of Capitalism — Learning is finding out things you do not already know and depends on openness to creativity – to surprise. Surprise is very crucial to Capitalism. You cannot predict the products of a creative process.

    When the Government gets in the business of regulating this by redistributing wealth, punishing some businesses while subsidizing other businesses. It becomes an attack on many things but mostly knowledge.

    Government guarantees prohibit learning and thus prohibit economic growth. All economic growth is fundamentally learning. “All wealth is fundamentally knowledge.” (Thomas Sowell)

    The Neanderthal in his cave had all the physical resources we have today. The difference between the Stone Age and our age today is entirely a byproduct of the growth of knowledge.
    The growth of knowledge is learning which means that economic growth is primarily learning.

    Learning is finding out things you do not already know and it’s never guaranteed. Any guarantee prohibits learning and thus prohibits growth.

  • Once there is a federal wealth tax, every taxing jurisdiction will jump into the money pot. There is no fair share that cannot be made fairer by increasing it or extending its reach to a newly defined group of “wealthy”.

  • No surprises here, although I think several of the candidates have transformed political office into a productive growth industry with exponential growth in wealth.

    That’s why there’s a political frenzy about impeaching Trump.
    He is threatening the goose that laid the golden egg, meaning he is threatening the under the table cash flow related to political office by going after corruption and cronyism.

  • So you penalize those who manage their money correctly and are successful while honoring those who squander their money, too lazy to get an education and work by giving what the money those that work honestly make and give it to those who lack the initiative to do the same?

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