Column: There is no such thing as an upward redistribution of wealth

Jen Ezzell, of Lisbon, Conn., holds signs protesting taxes as hundreds of people on both sides of the issue turned out Wednesday, March 6, 2019, for a legislative hearing at the Capitol in Hartford, Conn., on whether Connecticut should institute electronic highway tolls. The turnout highlighted the strong divide that's developed over an issue being pushed hard by the state's new Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont. (AP Photo/Susan Haigh)

Socialists frequently attempt to bolster their argument in favor of nationalized government by perpetuating the notion that the rich disproportionately benefit from capitalism and at the expense, no less, of the poor within a given society. In the spirit of attacking tax cuts for high income earners in America, socialists often present the case that this is an avaricious and greedy practice. In fact, I’ve even heard some go so far as to contend that tax cuts for the wealthy are a “radical redistribution of wealth upwards.” This, folks, is perhaps the most illogical argument I have ever encountered.

The first thing that needs to be understood is that no country has ever taxed itself into prosperity. While the levying of taxes is necessary in order for a government to fulfill its most basic responsibilities, the left has long sought to bleed America’s top earners into oblivion. Each time a Democratic president has been elected, the left cheered as marginal tax rates ballooned and the economy nosedived. The reason these jovial spirits are elated by the prospect of a crashing economy is because they can then present the case that capitalism has failed Americans across the board and the nation absolutely must without hesitation embrace socialism so the government can care for us all.

What happens when a Republican president is elected?

The 1980s was a period of economic growth and sustained prosperity for Americans under Ronald Reagan. Democrats were dead in the water on this one; supply-side economics lifted America out of Jimmy Carter’s leftist dystopia and into a Reagan-induced wealth coma. Instead of being grateful, the left condemned the era as one of greed. Why?

As Rush Limbaugh wrote in his 1992 book The Way Things Ought to Be, “The prosperous eighties are attacked by liberals because that decade vindicates conservative economic policies, repudiates liberal economic policies, and thereby threatens the power base of the liberal left—which is dependent upon the perpetuation of the myth that confiscatory tax policies will bring prosperity to the majority of Americans.”

Taxing rich people into extinction has historically decimated a society’s economic prospects. We need look no further than the state of Connecticut, which has among the highest tax rates across the board on its wealthy residents. Well, they’re technically now former residents.

According to the 2018 National Movers Study, the state of Connecticut ranks third in the nation in terms of out-migration. People flee Connecticut for a host of assorted reasons including climate, but the increased out-migration is dominated by residents searching for a state offering job growth, lower living costs and a balanced budget.

The out-migration has also been dominated by rich people. According to IRS data, Connecticut residents earning $200,000 or more annually comprise the largest subset of residents fleeing to neighboring states. Obviously, they want to keep more of the money they earn. When the wealthy flee, revenues take a punch. A 2015 study by the Cato Institute found that Connecticut forfeited $2.6 billion in tax revenue as a result of outmigration.

This is all to say that raising taxes on rich people is 1) an ineffective means of sustaining revenues over the long term and 2) indicative of class envy among the left.

It’s no secret that many Democratic politicians, despite amassing incredible wealth themselves, disparage rich Americans for being greedy and corrupt in order to pander for lower-class votes. Rather than promise poor Americans the opportunity to seize responsibility of their own lives, pursue their ambitions and improve their own living situations, Democrats promise free stuff; compliments of your pal, the government and paid for, of course, by your super wealthy neighbors. It is in defense of this garbage that socialists conceived this falsehood of a “radical redistribution of wealth upwards.”

The notion is that tax cuts steal money from poor people and redistribute it up the income ladder to rich people. Obviously, this is not the case. That money already belongs to the high earners because they earned it through a number of voluntary, mutually-beneficial transactions that took place within the free market. This is the opposite of wealth redistribution. The income already belongs to the rich; with tax cuts, the government simply isn’t confiscating it from them and redistributing it to others through social welfare programs.

Unfortunately, instead of buying products that can improve their lives, many Americans are buying these asinine socialist talking points. President Reagan would be sick. As for me, I’m just hoping that conservatives can radically redistribute some intelligence to those unfortunate Americans embracing socialism.


Kevin Catapano is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kevin.catapano@uconn.edu.