January 27, 1934 - Editorial - How Much is Too Much?, by George Lorimer

It would be strange if this session of Congress passes into history without giving vent to a more impassioned criticism of concentrated wealth than has ever been heard before. If it does so, it will only echo the statements of administration officials who have so often implied that a wider distribution of wealth is one of the fundamental aims of the New Deal. Nor is such a view confined to legislators and public officials; it is heard in other quarters, in common conversation. For that matter, it is sometimes expressed by the comfortable and well-to-do no less than by the poor and unemployed.

There are no fixed classes or castes or levels of income in this country. Untold thousands of fortunes and large incomes have most certain been distributed in the past few years in the sense that they have disappeared or have gone out of the hand of their former owners. No possible statute or artificial scheme for leveling down could possibly work with more destructive effect than have the inexorable forces of economic retribution.

Those who have been talking recently about the unequal distribution of wealth and the need for a fairer distribution of it covey the impression that they have made a brand-new discovery. They somehow talk as if by pressing a button, by turning a hand, by passing a law, all could be made different. But wealth had never been distributed in accordance with any given standard or ideal. It has depended and it does depend on inherited and environmental physical and mental strength, upon education, ignorance, cunning, intelligence; upon incalculable series of chances and opportunities, and still other endless series of readjustments of wages, hours of work, returns on capital, compensation for management, and technological changes beyond the power of man to foresee.

During the World War we imposed drastic and almost confiscatory taxes on the incomes of the wealthy. As we said on this page last week, we believe that drastic, though temporary, taxation of this same sort would be accepted in good spirit if the object of this taxation was to further a sound program to put the country on a sound business basis, but we must not forget that both the World War and the depression beginning in 1929 have drained away a large amount of our taxable wealth. If the present program is continued and the new plans that are simmering in the Congressional pot are put into effect, we shall simply have impossible taxation all down the line that will make recovery progressively harder. The twin budgets showed a deficit of a billion dollars between July and January, and this deficit will probably amount to a good many billion dollars more by the end of the fiscal year. The budgets can be separated in a ledger, but they must be lumped for purposes of taxation. The so-called redistribution can easily become confiscation and reach a long way down from the wealthy. (pg. 22)

Comments: Taxation has been confiscatory for many years now. The rulers tax your labor with no restraints to whatever levels they desire, and if you refuse to give them your labor and you have property in your name, such as a bank account, will not that bank account be seized? Will they not garnish your labor? People who cry out for a more equitable redistribution of wealth end up enslaving themselves and they trap posterity in a process of increasing servitude.

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