James Joyner replies to our posts (mine and ED’s) about the liberal failure to acknowledge the greatness of our Galtian overlords:
Doug’s rejoinder is, essentially, Why does Andrew care what liberals acknowledge? After all, he reasons, a desire to raise the marginal tax rate to not “much over 40%” is already a great favor to the rich.
But the reason people like Andrew and myself wish the basic fact that most high earners got there through the dint of their own efforts acknowledged in the debate is that it’s crucial to a civil society.
We need a lot of money to fund a lot of public projects. That would be true even if we just funded the ones that 85 percent of Americans agreed absolutely had to be funded. And people with money are, by definition, going to have to pony up most of it. But to confiscate it from the successful without acknowledgment of the sacrifice this entails is to court resentment.
I appreciate the candor and forthrightness of this rejoinder. I think in the end, this is a pretty good example of where I have to part ways with pretty much all modern conservatives. I just don’t think this it is the job of government to validate people’s feelings. If there’s one thing the free market should be good at by now, it’s validating people’s feelings, especially rich people’s feelings, which are especially lucrative. There’s a big market for products and services that make rich people feel good about themselves and I say we sit back and let it do its job.
I guess I also don’t understand what form our acknowledgment of the sacrifices of the rich is supposed to take. A national holiday? A monument? I’m not kidding here. If erecting a Tomb of the Unknown CEO is all it takes to stop the whining, I’m all for it.