The Conservative Left and Tax Cuts

by | Apr 5, 2001

A Fox News liberal-conservative debate the other night was very revealing. The discussion was about tax cuts. The liberal (Mort Kondracke) said that tax cuts “are all about numbers.” The conservative (Fred Barnes) was quick to retort, “It’s not all about numbers. It’s about incentives.” The conservative was closer to the truth than the liberal; […]

A Fox News liberal-conservative debate the other night was very revealing. The discussion was about tax cuts. The liberal (Mort Kondracke) said that tax cuts “are all about numbers.” The conservative (Fred Barnes) was quick to retort, “It’s not all about numbers. It’s about incentives.”

The conservative was closer to the truth than the liberal; but both are wrong. Notice the premise of each: that tax cuts can only be justified if they improve the collective economy. No reference is made to the individual.

Tax cuts are not about numbers or incentives — at least not fundamentally. At root, tax cuts are about morality.

In other words: individuals are morally entitled to keep what they earn. Individuals are morally entitled to keep all of what they earn, not just the small extra percentage granted by the proposed tax cuts.

Yes, it’s that simple.

If I hired somebody to break into your house and steal your money or property, you would be justified in your outrage. You would also be justified in pressing charges against me. If I told you that I needed the money for a noble purpose (child care, education for my child, school lunches, health care, you name it), you would still be justified in insisting, “You have no right breaking into my house and taking from me, without my consent.” Most would agree with me on this point.

Yet most glaze over when confronted with the objective fact that the exact same thing is done by politicians every day. We hire politicians to steal money from other people in the name of causes we deem as “noble”. Yet the real issue of justice is private property; and individual rights. Individuals all enjoy the same right to keep what they earn, whether they make $10,000 a year or $10 billion a year.

If the human race ever becomes truly civilized, this will no longer be a radical idea. It will simply be self-evident. In the meantime, we all must settle for whatever measly tax cut or “rebate” or “stimulus package” the politicians we vote into office kindly choose to grant us.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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