The 5 Craziest Ideas from the Democratic Primary Freak Show

The 5 Craziest Ideas from the Democratic Primary Freak Show by Doug Casey for International Man

International Man: Elizabeth Warren proposed an annual tax on a person’s wealth. What do you make of this?

Doug Casey: When you tax something, you discourage it. If Elizabeth Warren wants to tax people’s wealth, that’s going to encourage people to hide their wealth. And discourage them from getting wealthy. So, it’s poison from an economic point of view.

But it’s even worse from an ethical or spiritual point of view. It sends a signal that wealth is evil. That it has to be kept under control and limited. That a political priesthood should determine how much is enough and who should get it. It’s especially perverse in that people like Warren act like they have the moral high ground. When in fact, they’re in the moral gutter.

She says she’s pushing it to keep people from getting “too wealthy,” which is actually insane. It’s exactly the opposite of what we should want. We want to encourage everybody to become very wealthy so that everybody’s a capitalist. Worse, the proceeds of a wealth tax go to the state—the worst place it can go. It will increase the size of government, and the capital will be dissipated, at best. Perhaps it will be redistributed to a well-connected crony capitalist or used to further corrupt the poor with handouts. Bad news all around.

The hatred of the rich is, however, somewhat understandable. Why? Because so many of them became incredibly wealthy by becoming cronies and gaming the political system. Most of their money was gained through theft, not production. The way to prevent that is to get the state out of the economy. Not make the state and its cronies bigger and stronger by directing more tax revenues to it.

But there are other consequences of a wealth tax.

Every American is going to have to file a balance sheet with the government, not just an income statement the way we currently do for the IRS. They’ll know, under penalty of perjury, not just what we earn, but what we have.

A wealth tax is extremely anti-freedom. Plus, it will require the hiring of thousands more IRS agents, just the opposite of what we want to do. We want to abolish the IRS, not make it larger.

A wealth tax is a completely insane idea, from absolutely every point of view. It has no positives.

International Man: Initially, the government would hit only the rich with the wealth tax. But that’s precisely how proponents sold the federal income tax to the American people, and look at the monstrosity it has grown into today. Do you think the same thing could happen if someone like Warren institutes a wealth tax?

Doug Casey: Unquestionably. The federal income tax started out in 1913, at 1% on net personal incomes above $3,000 (about $50,000 in today’s dollars) and 7% on incomes above $500,000 (about $8 million today).

International Man: Cory Booker wants reparations for descendants of slavery. What are your thoughts on this?

Doug Casey: Another completely insane idea. It’s guaranteed to create much more antagonism between the races—where just by virtue of being black, you receive lots of money from white people. Even though no American blacks have ever been slaves.

Nor their parents. In fact, no black person in the country today has anything closer than a great-great-grandparent who was a slave. The idea is criminally insane. It’s all about theft based on race. So it’ll only create more antagonism between whites and blacks. In addition to opening up questions like, “What percentage black do you have to be?” 100%? 50%? A quarter? An eighth?

Would you lie like Elizabeth Warren to capture a benefit based on your possible racial background? This opens up a Pandora’s box filled with race hatred, corruption, and millions of lawsuits

Entirely apart from that—although it’s perverse—blacks in the United States should be happy their ancestors were stolen from Africa. As bad as things were for slaves in this country, they would have been even worse off in Africa—where they would also have been slaves. Africa is full of de facto slavery even today, even though it was legally—cosmetically—abolished in 1982 in the last country to have it, Mauritania. And their descendants would have been much, much worse off. They would have had none of the myriad advantages of being in a Western country.

Actually, most of the blacks who were stolen from Africa went to Brazil and the Caribbean. I believe the number is about 80%. So does Booker mean that the Caribbean islands, which are today mostly black, and Brazil, which is over 50% black, should get reparations too?

He makes the argument that American prosperity was built on black slavery. This is historically not just false, but the opposite of the truth. Slavery discouraged industrialization of the South, keeping it a century behind the North in technology. The slaves were an actual detriment to development. There was no “surplus value” created to be distributed to anybody 150 years later.

Booker is a slick race hustler with a criminal mentality, from a wealthy family. He’s in the tradition of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. It’s a sign of how degraded the US has become that he’s taken seriously in any way.

International Man: Andrew Yang wants to give every adult an unconditional $1,000 a month—in other words, a universal basic income. Yang calls this a “freedom dividend.” But the government is not a profit-seeking corporation, and it can’t pay a “dividend.” What is really going on here?

Doug Casey: A freedom dividend? A dividend can be paid to an investor only if capital is deployed in a way that it creates a profit. Who are the investors here? Where is the capital they saved to “invest”? Where is the profit the government makes to distribute? What does any of this have to do with “freedom”? It’s a goofy idea based on theft.

There’s two ways that money can be generated to give everybody $12,000 per year. Either steal it from people who actually produce it or have the Federal Reserve print it up and give it to everybody—in which case you’ll destroy the currency.

The fact is that when there’s any kind of an economic transaction, there has to be an exchange, you have to give something to get something. Where is the exchange here? It’s pure institutionalized theft.

Most of the people getting the $12,000 will simply stop working at their minimum wage jobs and just fritter it away. Many might use it for a down payment on a $50,000 pickup truck. Which might be smart, because next year the same truck might cost $70,000 due to all the extra money creation. It’s another criminally insane idea. Yang’s main qualification to be president is that he rides a skateboard reasonably well—better than Beto for sure.

International Man: Robert O’Rourke—who prefers to be called “Beto” to give himself a more Hispanic-sounding name—has openly embraced gun confiscation. What are the implications here?

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Doug Casey

For over a quarter of a century, legendary investor and best-selling author Doug Casey and his team at Casey Research have been helping self-directed investors to earn superior returns through innovative investment research designed to take advantage of market dislocations..