Present in the news is Bernie Sanders’s proposals for a 90% tax rate on the richest of Americans to fund his vision of a welfare state, i.e. free public college, free health care, eradication of poverty, and reduced income inequality. While appealing and idealistic, particularly to a younger generation, there is a grave moral problem underscoring the idea of such high taxation to fund a welfare state and these “free” universal government programs.
There is this ever present idea that it is justifiable to take the product of labor i.e. money, from the rich to pay for programs that are for the benefit of everyone. While taxation is arguably a necessary endeavor to fund infrastructure and K-12 education, the idea of confiscating more and more labor from the rich through high taxation under the umbrella of “the greater good” and “free” universal government programs such as free college and free health care opens the door for dangerous potentials.
No moral being would agree that it is morally justifiable for a government bureaucrat to take 100% of the products of your labor and use it in what they see as not only your best interests but also those of an entire nation. Such a notion is ridiculous precisely because it is slavery (slavery by definition being the compelling and repossession of labor) albeit justified by greater good nomenclature. Why then do people support Bernie’s proposal and find it morally justifiable to seize 90% of someone’s labor by taxation for universal government programs?
Regardless of intent, confiscating 90% of one’s labor is a modern version of slavery and allows grave government enforced possibilities to rise up out of the woodwork. When Americans begin to believe that everyone can easily live at the expense of everyone else, a moral principle is eradicated-the idea that you, and only you, own your labor.
The belief that you are the sole person that has the right to your labor is a belief that exists simply by virtue of being not only an American, but a human being. To remain true to this moral belief we must rally against Bernie’s demonization of the rich and the idea that people are numbers for government programs or pegs to fit into a political agenda.