If it was good enough for Marx and Castro, it’s good enough for me.
I responded to an article that Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, who writes for the New York Times, wrote. Krugman has never met a tax increase he hasn’t liked. He’s onboard with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 percent top tax rate. Here’s his argument:
The controversy of the moment involves AOC’s advocacy of a tax rate of 70-80 percent on very high incomes, which is obviously crazy, right? I mean, who thinks that makes sense? Only ignorant people like … um, Peter Diamond, Nobel laureate in economics and arguably the world’s leading expert on public finance. (Although Republicans blocked him from an appointment to the Federal Reserve Board with claims that he was unqualified. Really.) And it’s a policy nobody has ever implemented, aside from … the United States, for 35 years after World War II — including the most successful period of economic growth in our history.1
To be more specific, Diamond, in work with Emmanuel Saez — one of our leading experts on inequality — estimated the optimal top tax rate to be 73 percent. Some put it higher: Christina Romer, top macroeconomist and former head of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, estimates it at more than 80 percent.
And because Diamond is a “Nobel laureate in economics,” he must be right and obeyed.
When I responded that taxing anyone at 70 percent is theft, the Render-unto-Caesar Christians came out of the woodwork. There are two Bible passages that Leftists love: “You shall not judge” (Matt. 7:1) and “render unto Caesar” (22:21). It’s amazing how judgmental people get when you point out that the Emperor has no clothes.
The following is some of what I wrote.
Wow! Are you saying we are living under Caesar? I didn’t know that. I recall that we are living under the United States Constitution that says nothing about wealth redistribution. The question remains even after Jesus took His foes to the rhetorical woodshed for trying to entrap Him so they could use His political statements to get rid of Him. “But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, ‘Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites?’” (Mt. 22:18).
You may have noticed that the Herodians and Pharisees joined forces against Jesus. The Herodians were for the tax and the Pharisees were against it. Not so strange bedfellows when you have a common enemy in someone like Jesus. This encounter would be used against Jesus at His civil trial (Luke 23:2).
What things are Caeser’s? Are you saying if Caesar wanted slavery, as a good Christian you would go along with it? You do know that Rome was a slave state? Should we “render” to Caesar that or just its taxing authority?
The Caesars put their political rivals to death. I’m sure you are aware of the exploits of Nero Caesar and the slaughter of Christians using them as torches to light up the night sky.
Did you know that a ten percent tax was considered tyranny because it rivaled the tithe (1 Sam. 8) and that Thomas Paine referred to this passage in his book Common Sense in his defense of breaking with the taxing policies of Britain?
You forget that Jesus offers a two-part answer: “and to God the things that are God’s.” We learn of their duplicity at Jesus’ trial when given the opportunity to “render to God,” they cried out, “We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:5).
Here’s something that’s not often mentioned in discussions about Jesus and the tribute coin. The denarius was a silver coin. Those who love to quote Jesus about taxes fail to consider that the money used by Caesar was lawful money (in addition to gold). Those trying to justify the taxing policy of our government need to be consistent. They should demand Caesar’s coinage as well. I’ll mention the Constitution again.
No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility (Article 1, sec. 10).
Inflation (an increase in the money supply) is a form of tax. By issuing paper money or digital currency (Quantitative Easing), the value of the money we hold is devalued. It’s like adding water to wine or a base metal (dross) to silver and claiming the purity and original value of both. It’s an indirect form of theft. The Bible requires “just weights and measures” (Lev. 19:35-36; Deut. 25:13-15). Consider the following:
How the faithful city has become a harlot,
She who was full of justice!
Righteousness once lodged in her,
But now murderers.
Your silver has become dross,
Your drink diluted with water (Isa. 1:21-22).
Like our own government, “starting with Nero in AD 64, the Romans continuously debased their silver coins until, by the end of the 3rd century AD, hardly any silver was left.” You can see by what we find in Isaiah that the debasement of coinage follows the debasement in morality.
Economists like Paul Krugman believe the way to fix the economy is by deficit spending and inflating (debasing) the currency, a violation of biblical law that hurts the poorest among us. Krugman believes that wealth redistribution is the best way to help the poor. The better (moral) way is not to steal. Let’s say a rich person builds a house that costs ten million dollars. Who benefits? All the people who are paid to work on the house down to every nail that’s made and purchased. The money is redistributed because jobs are created.
Kill the capital — kill the economy.
AOC, Krugman, and Diamond contend that it’s better to confiscate the ten million dollars, buy votes, run it through the bureaucracy, and redistribute it. Yes, some people will get more money, but their incentive to work will be affected and they will remain wards of the State.
Such economic practices make us slaves to the State where our government becomes Caesar.
- Almost no one paid the highest tax rates. There were numerous exemptions. This is no longer the case. [↩]