These people seemingly have subscribed to the idea that was encapsulated by Elizabeth Warren (U.S. Senator)
recently, that "nobody in this country got rich on their own". This argument is reasonable, but not in the application used by Elizabeth and people who support higher taxation to make up tax revenue shortfalls.
Most people would agree that a "Social Contract
" has been established in America. That social contract means different things to different people. No one could become wealthy without their fellow citizens. Without these individuals, trade and markets wouldn't occur, those two things being the only voluntary and free ways to achieve wealth. This everyone can agree on. But the next step taken by the people you speak of in your question, ones who support what Elizabeth Warren said, is a very questionable one.
When one becomes rich via voluntary trade
, it can be forgotten that proper Capitalism
and Free Markets
are not a Zero-Sum Game
. These people became rich through meeting consumer demands and improving quality of life
for their fellow citizens. Higher income is a "reward" for these richer folk, and a happier life for many is the currency that bought this reward. This, in my opinion, is the gist of a social contract when applied to trade.
But, in the view of the statist
, this voluntary trade (wealth for happiness), is not a proper trade. When government officials learn the arts of taxation and public policy
, coupled with the ability to incite class warfare
and generate a false view that the rich are not "deserving" or are a "special" class of people that require different rules, hell ensues.
What happens is these politicians capitalize on one of the basic human vices: envy
When you cross the barrier and move into taxation and build a government that provides services provided by resources taken private sector, the entire principles of a nation shift. It no longer becomes a truly free country. Now, the question becomes "how much?" The idea becomes ingrained in society that the wealthy should "give back", and the social contract moves from voluntary trades to wealth redistribution based upon unclear, arbitrary metrics. When politicians unlock the power of taxation and bureaucracy, the question becomes "how long?" until the idea becomes firmly implanted into society that no one deserves more than the next. It is already happening in Europe
Just look at how people are reacting to the U.S. Federal Budget
crisis. Many people do not see the government deficit as the fault of poor government policy and a strictly government problem. That view would destroy the ability of politicians to generate power bases. More people view the government as a machine of "do good", and focus their attention towards the wealthy, demanding a piece of their wealth, for the "good of the people". There are too many people that are "invested" in a government that needs to keep growing and growing. Franklin D. Roosevelt
made a brilliant move when he created Social Security
. What it did was tie social outcome to government size and its justification for using increasing amounts of power.