“Socialism states that you owe me something simply because I exist. Capitalism, by contrast, results in a sort of reality-forced altruism: I may not want to help you, I may dislike you, but if I don’t give you a product or service you want, I will starve. Voluntary exchange is more moral than forced redistribution.” – Ben Shapiro
I understand the appeal of Bernie Sanders. I certainly do. I myself am a free-market capitalist because I believe it’s simply the best means by which we can achieve greatness as a society. However, I wouldn’t be a very good capitalist–or a very good political writer for that matter–if I failed to understand the opposition.
There are many who strongly resist the label “socialist,” but Sanders himself refers to his belief system as “Democratic Socialism.”
According to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA):
“Democratic socialists believe that both the economy and society should be run democratically–to meet public needs, not to make profits for a few.”
Democratic Socialists often describe themselves as a group who wants the wealthy to “pay their fair share.” They want large corporations, as well as those running them, to be curbed so that they don’t continue to make massive profits, while their employees make much, much less.
I have many friends who, in a genuine desire to make a better country, have told me they support Bernie Sanders, and by default Democratic Socialism. They see corporations and the wealthier among us as greedy and in need of restrictions.
The only entity larger than corporations like Walmart and Amazon, or various Wall Street companies like Goldman Sachs, and thus able to hold power over them, is the federal government. Given this, my friends feel that the only way to make things more equitable is to have the government impose financial limitations on companies.
I understand how this appears fair. I understand how this seems like the best way to go. However, it’s simply untrue. The reason it’s untrue is two-fold–and the answers spool out, requiring further analysis. Given this, I’m going to take this one step at a time. Over the course of several pieces, I’m going to deconstruct the tenets of Democratic Socialism.
Today, I’ll be dealing with the alleged source of wealth inequity. I say “alleged” because the premise presented by many Democratic Socialists regarding the cause of income inequity is patently false.
Democratic Socialists believe that corporations make so much money, and pay so few taxes because there isn’t enough holding them back. The opposite is true. The tax system we have in place contains seemingly innumerable loopholes that can be taken advantage of by large corporations that have the money and resources to navigate the dense network of tax law, and use it to their advantage.
Small businesses and individual Americans don’t have an army of attorneys to do the figuring for them, so they often lose out. As of 2013, our tax code is approximately 73,954 pages. That’s on the federal government’s doing, not corporations.
Imagine a piece of candy placed on a high shelf. Then imagine that the person who put the piece of candy on the high shelf tells a 6-year-old and a 12-year-old that whomever can reach the candy can have it. Who gets the candy? Obviously, the 12-year-old. He’s smarter, more developed, and taller. Is it the 12-year-old’s fault that he can reach the candy? No. It’s the fault of the person who put it on the shelf.
We cannot place blame where it isn’t due.
There are some who would say it’s the obligation of the 12-year-old to give some of the candy to the 6-year-old. We’ll get to that in a later piece.
First, however, we must properly understand the context of the situation. It is not a lack of regulations that is allowing unequal wealth distribution, but an inherent advantage on the part of larger corporate entities. That’s not wrong. It simply is. The writer of the rules is the federal government.
So, Democratic Socialists will read this and say “Uh, yeah. That’s what we’re saying. It’s unfair, and the government should step in.” However, it is not corporations that are unfair, but the government itself–the game-master.
The solution to this problem is not to ask the government to add regulations on top of our already insoluble tax code, but to simplify, to unpack the density which blocks smaller businesses and individuals from succeeding.
Further regulations are not the answer. A new beginning is. Tabula rasa.
For example, a conservative may propose the following: A 10% tax for individuals across all income brackets, and a 16% tax on businesses. Eliminate all loopholes. This way, from the largest corporation down to the single employee, everyone will pay an equal percentage of their wealth in taxes.
Presently, many larger entities and extremely wealthy people shelter their money by utilizing loopholes that others cannot. By eliminating loopholes and putting in place a flat percentage tax, everyone will pay taxes. This is fair and equitable.
It’s not the players who are unfair, but those who create the board on which the game is played.
Conservatives–not to be confused with Republicans–understand this. Ted Cruz is an example of a conservative who gets this. Bernie Sanders wants the government to create further regulations to heal a disease that was caused in the first place by overburdensome and insanely dense government regulations. His position simply doesn’t stand up to reason and logic.
Tomorrow, I will address the necessary questions brought up by Democratic Socialists who want some to pay a much higher percentage in taxes than others simply by virtue of them making more money overall. This is unfair, and untenable, and I’ll tell you why.