Wealth and Envy: A Wealth Tax Will Make Paupers of Us All

Written by Oliver Perry

In his presidential campaign, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders issued his own plan to institute a “wealth tax.”

While Warren has touted the tax to fund her agenda, the primary purpose of Sanders’s proposal is to correct what his campaign called the “outrageous level of inequality that exists in America today and to rebuild the disappearing middle class.”[1]

The wealth tax seems to have wide support. A Quinnipiac Poll claims that 60% of those surveyed support a 2% annual wealth tax on the rich.[2] Perhaps these people support it, or perhaps they’re misinformed about what they approved. But that 60% number does give pause, that this many people are willing to “sell out” the wealthy. This willingness for class warfare is what the leftists are clamoring for.[3]

Envy is the foundation of the wealth tax. Those with envy hate the rich because of their wealth. But instead of seeking their own wealth they’d rather destroy those who have it.

Unchecked, their efforts could succeed. But in the end, they will strip all of us of our wealth. Even those considered middle-income will lose their retirement savings, their hedges against hard times, and any inheritance for their children. Whether currently rich or poor, families will lose all they have to this ravening tax.

Theft is still theft, even if passed by a majority vote. But this tax can still be stopped. Read on, and learn what to do.

You may also be interested in my prior wealth tax article, which shows the connection between socialism and the wealth tax.[4]

Wealth taxes are meant to make all of us poor, not just the rich

An income tax gets levied only on your earnings, but a wealth tax gets levied on everything you already own. If the wealth tax rates are set high enough then the taxes on your properties will exceed their appreciation. They become too expensive to keep. You may even have to sell some of them just to get money to pay your wealth taxes on them. Because you have a home, stocks, jewelry, that collectible car, a vacation time-share, and so on, you’ll be taxed until you’re poor.

According to Thomas Piketty, an economist famous for wealth-tax advocacy, making you poor is exactly the point.

We are not going to wait until Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg reach the age of 90 before they begin to pay taxes. With the 3 percent annual rate proposed by Warren, a static estate worth $100 billion would return to the community in 30 years. This is a good beginning but, given the average rate of progression of the highest financial assets, the aim should undoubtedly be higher (5 to 10 percent or more).[5]

“Return to the community” means “taxed to death.” You read it correctly, wealth taxes are meant to make people poor.

The wealth tax isn’t proposed to meet an existing need. Listen to the politicians. When discussing this tax, it is always linked to new, expansive, giveaways and entitlements. But what happens once all of America’s 627 billionaires (that few?)[6] are finally drained of wealth? Which outcome is more likely to occur?

  • Government subsidies are cut. However, the former recipients are understanding that the free money has dried up. They’ll quietly reorient their lives to spending less.
  • To placate their angry constituents, who feel cheated of their government entitlements, legislators expand the scope of the wealth tax. Now pretty much everybody gets taxed, at fairly stiff rates.

In the end we’ll all be subject to a wealth tax, with the same goal as at first: make all of us poor.

  • We all be without retirement savings.
  • Nobody will have reserves against hard times.
  • And there will be no inheritances left to our children.

All of our plans for the future will be eaten by wealth taxes, frittered away for the benefit of politicians. If American voters are inflamed with an envy of the rich, and enable these rascals, then we’ll all get to experience this future.

It’s not a sin to be rich

Many politicians and activists say that it is wrong to be wealthy.

  • U.S. Senator Sanders says: There should be no billionaires. We are going to tax their extreme wealth and invest in working people.[7]
  • U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said a society that “allows billionaires to exist” while some Americans live in abject poverty is “immoral.”[8]
  • Columnist A.Q. Smith says: Here is a simple statement of principle that doesn’t get repeated enough: if you possess billions of dollars, in a world where many people struggle because they do not have much money, you are an immoral person. The same is true if you possess hundreds of millions of dollars, or even millions of dollars. Being extremely wealthy is impossible to justify in a world containing deprivation.[9]

Are they right? Is it immoral, or unfair, to be rich while others are poor? The Bible doesn’t see it that way.

  • God rewarded Abraham with great wealth, with so much of it that he needed an army to take care of it. That is why Abraham had men ready to defeat the kings that captured his relative Lot (Genesis 14:14).
  • In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus told, approvingly, the story of the man who was faithful with much. That man was rewarded with even more wealth.

These stories, among many others, show that merely having wealth isn’t unjust, unfair, immoral, or un-Christian. But note that with wealth comes responsibilities.

  • Rulers and judges must not accept bribes, and so be unjust in their rulings (Isaiah 5:23; Ezekiel 22:12). It also isn’t be right to offer a bribe and so tempt them into sin (Luke 17:1-2).
  • Don’t use your position to cheat those you do business with (Deuteronomy 24:10-15). Pay your bills in full, on time.
  • Be generous with your wealth, and help the poor (Deuteronomy 15:10; Hebrews 13:16; etc.). Generosity towards the poor comes highly recommended, but the Bible never tells rulers that they must, or can, enforce generosity. God deals with the ungenerous in His own time (Luke 16:19-31).

In summary, according to the Bible, wealth isn’t an evil thing. Neither is it a sin to be rich, even insanely so.

Envy and theft are wrong, even when approved by majority vote

Suppose Congress and the President get together and pass this wealth tax into law. Have they done a good thing? Of course not. It might be legal, but it won’t be right.

  • Because the tax targets certain rich people, with the aim of destroying their wealth, it is without question legislated envy.
  • Because the aim of the tax is solely to impoverish these people, it is theft.
  • Rulers and judges are to be impartial, not favoring the rich or the poor (Exodus 23:1-3; Leviticus 19:15).

There is a great Biblical example of this intersection of envy, theft, and power. King Ahab lusted for Naboth’s vineyard (1 Kings 21:8-16). Naboth wouldn’t sell, so the king allowed his wicked queen to engineer a scheme to get Naboth unjustly killed. Then the king took possession of the vineyard, disregarding any inheritance claims of Naboth’s relatives. The king allowed his envy to condone murder, and gained what he sought by strongarm government theft.

The wealth tax comes out of envy of wealth. A simple definition of envy is “to want what belongs to someone else.”[10] Envy is a passion that destroys a person from within (Mark 7:20-23). Christians are to stop being envious. As Paul said, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:25-26)

Gary North wrote about envy:[11]

[Helmut] Schoeck recognized that envy was one of the medieval church’s seven deadly sins. He believed that generations of preaching against envy was one of the pillars of Western economic growth — one that has not been widely recognized.

For well over a thousand years, the church preached against the sin of envy. This preaching had a positive effect wherever it took hold in people’s thinking. Listeners were hesitant to indulge in the sin of envy. They had been warned of coming judgment against the envious.

But we see most American voters apparently approving of legislating their envy against the rich. We’re “othering” the rich, treating them like non-people, that we can somehow justify stealing their property.

What to do about the wealth tax?

At this time, the proposed wealth tax hasn’t been passed into law. It could become law if the narrative remains “those immoral, unjust, rich people.” But if the story is changed to “we must not legislate this envy” then we may yet be spared this tax.

What can we do to correct things? How can we prevent such laws, and preserve our own wealth for our future and that of our children? There are four sorts of tasks open to us.

Are YOU envious? Do you still think that people should be forced to part with their wealth, simply because they are rich? If so, then perhaps you still have some envy in your heart.

Remember that “forced” means government action, which this entire article addresses. Suppose instead that we work at encouraging the wealthy to be more generous to the poor. If we succeed then the poor get relief without us doing violence to the rich.

Can you influence envious people? If that Quinnipiac poll is right,[12] around half of American voters support a discriminatory law against rich people. Some probably don’t know what the law really means. The rest might gleefully anticipate “sticking it” to rich people, a pretty good sign of envious intent. This means that the American public needs some re-education.

  • Tell people what the law really does. In the vein of “each one teach one,” spread the word that a wealth tax will first eat the rich, and then come for everyone else. Learning that everyone will get bit by this law will remove a lot of enthusiasm for it.
  • Instruct people why envy is bad. Those favoring the wealth tax, whether ignorantly or gleefully, need a refresher course on envy. The story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:2-8) shows us that envy encourages you into doing even more extreme things.
  • Learn the Biblical purpose of wealth. Wealth is supposed to be a blessing, as long as you are its master and not vice-versa (Luke 18:18-27). There are any number of web sites and books on the topic. Why not start with something on wealth and capitalism?[13]

Vote the bums out! You can discourage politicians from pursuing this tax. Good people will see the dangers in this tax and oppose it. Bad ones won’t. Here are two sorts of politicians to oppose.

  • Oppose those who favor the tax. These don’t care if they’re envious, they just want the tax. It means that they don’t have the character to be a righteous and impartial leader or judge. Kick them out of office. Even if they are merely local politicians, get rid of them now before they move up to more important posts.
  • Oppose the wishy-washy. There look to see which way the wind blows before they act. They say “I’m personally opposed, but I can’t let my beliefs influence my decision.” They’re really seeking the best payoff for their vote. Elect instead someone with good sense, who stands his or her ground because of good moral teaching.

Pray. Ask that God lead America to repent of the sin of envy. Pray that God confound and confuse our enemies, so that their rage and efforts end up accomplishing nothing.

Endnotes

  1. Lehman, Charles Fain, Sanders Quadruples Warren Wealth Tax, Washington Free Beacon, September 24, 2019, https://freebeacon.com/politics/bernie-announces-wealth-tax-plan/ 
  2. April 30, 2019 – Biden Surging Among Democrats In Presidential Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; U.S. Voters Support Wealth Tax, Oppose Free College, Quinnipiac University, April 30, 2019, https://poll.qu.edu/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2617 
  3. Glockzin, Don, CLASS WARFARE BEGINS WITH THE RICH AND ENDS WITH YOU, Keep Us Great blog, February 10, 2019, https://keepusgreat.com/2019/02/10/class-warfare-begins-with-the-rich-and-ends-with-you/ 
  4. Perry, Oliver, Wealth Tax: the envious enabler of American Socialism, Fix This Culture blog, September 11, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/socialism/wealth-tax-the-envious-enabler-of-american-socialism/ 
  5. Piketty, Thomas, A tax on wealth is long overdue, Boston Globe, February 11, 2019, https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/02/11/tax-wealth-long-overdue/AULwxlT7ZGu4uuB7dkpXTJ/story.html 
  6. Chastain, Mary, Bernie Sanders Unveils ‘Tax on Extreme Wealth’ Plan Which Includes National Wealth Registry, Legal Insurrection, September 24, 2019, https://legalinsurrection.com/2019/09/bernie-sanders-unveils-tax-on-extreme-wealth-plan-which-includes-national-wealth-registry/ 
  7. Sanders, Bernie, from his Twitter account, https://twitter.com/BernieSanders/status/1176485327336329216 
  8. Relman, Eliza, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said billionaires shouldn’t exist as long as Americans live in abject poverty, Business Insider, January 22, 2019, https://www.businessinsider.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-thinks-billionaires-shouldnt-exist-2019-1 
  9. Smith, A.Q., IT’S BASICALLY JUST IMMORAL TO BE RICH, Current Affairs, June 14, 2017, https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/its-basically-just-immoral-to-be-rich 
  10. What does the Bible say about envy?, Got Questions, https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-envy.html 
  11. North, Gary, Envy and Poverty, Lew Rockwell, July 18, 2007, https://www.lewrockwell.com/2007/07/gary-north/the-evil-of-envy/ 
  12. April 30, 2019 – Biden Surging Among Democrats In Presidential Race, Quinnipiac University National Poll Finds; U.S. Voters Support Wealth Tax, Oppose Free College, Quinnipiac University, April 30, 2019 
  13. Perry, Oliver, Is Capitalism Immoral?, Fix This Culture blog, July 10, 2019, https://fixthisculture.com/economics/is-capitalism-immoral/ 

This article was originally published at the Fix This Culture blog.

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Modified by Matthew Medlen.com