My very first job as an engineering student was as a surveyor in Powell, Wyoming. What a great start for a young, impressionable youth, to be surrounded by men and women with a frontier spirit devoid of politics and overflowing with straight talk. Now, with more than a half-century of experience in the energy field, I find it painful to see some of these people being cowed by the radical green philosophy and told to run from the riches bestowed on their land in the form of coal.
As a new year begins, it is easy to consider that the prospects for freedom in America and in many other parts of the world to seem dim. After all, government continues to grow bigger and more intrusive, along with tax burdens that siphon off vast amounts of private wealth.
It seems that when Chief Justice John Marshall was preparing the opinion for McCulloch v. Maryland he tapped into an eternal truth. “The power to tax is the power to destroy,” he wrote on behalf of a unanimous Supreme Court. Those words are no less true in 2014 than they were in 1819. Taxation appropriates money from one person or group of people in order to give it to others. There is no way to escape taxes. But there is a way to make taxes somewhat fairer. One way is to make taxes flatter and expand the tax base.
The only way to permanently rid a society of a ‘gap’ in either wealth or income is by making everybody equally poor. If nobody has any more wealth than anybody else, then nobody can be ‘wealthy.’
With all the talk of America’s forgotten middle class, it’s worth taking time as we begin a new year to consider that the country’s seeming obsession with wealth and inequality may instead be turning the U. S. into a country with only two classes: the governed and the governing.