Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tyranny of the Majority

"Eat the Rich"
P.J. O'Rourke
Not only is Eat the Rich a very funny book by P.J. O'Rourke it is also a British comedy, a song by Motorhead (not on my iPod!!), and apparently the mindset of the vast majority of my fellow Minnesotans based on this recent newspaper headline -- "Poll: Majority Backs Tax Hike for Wealthy".
This poll which was conducted by Minnesota Public (tax dollars involved so are they biased at all??!!) Radio yielded the following results:
  • 72% of likely voters favor taxing the wealthy at a higher rate to lower property taxes, and
  • 69% favor the same approach to pay for education

Now this is exactly why our Founding Fathers created a government filled with checks and balances that create "institutional gridlock" so that a tyrannical majority can not oppress a minority -- whether that minority is a group of rich people or an ethnic group all should be protected under the Constitution from the whims of a majority driven by a mob rule mentality.

Beyond these Political Science 101 arguments I need to highlight several concerns we should have with these polling numbers:

  • If we "eat the rich" by driving them to retire in income tax free states like Florida (such as retired TCF Bank CEO Bill Cooper) who will be around to pay these higher taxes?
  • Why does a majority of "likely voters" want to stick it to rich people? Don't they share my motivation to create wealth for my family versus advocating more taxes? I don't envy the rich people do you?
  • Instead of increasing personal income taxes why doesn't this "majority of likely voters" call for budget cuts and/or competitive bidding/privatization of government services at the local government level?
  • Education spending already consumers 55% of the State of Minnesota budget so how much should we give the education complex -- 80 or 90% of the state budget? Why don't we attach a dollar amount per student for them to use as consumers so they can select how they want to spend their education budget by choosing which school to attend?

Simply increasing taxes without demanding changes and better performance from government agencies is a formula for totalitarian government as evidenced by the old Soviet joke -- "we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us."

You have been warned ;-)


1 comment:

jdsqrd said...

Thems good eatin' but upsets my tummy: too rich.