Adam Smith? That Commie!

What kind of a commie/leftwing/socialist/wackjob would make the following statement!

“It is not unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, no only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion.”

It must be Barak Obama talking about spreading the wealth again.  Poor Joe the Plumber! Obviously this liberal socialist above has no understanding of how capitalism works.

Ooops!  It turns out that the above quote is from Adam Smith in his revolutionary work The Wealth of Nations.  Yes, that Adam Smith.

Smith’s understanding of capitalism recognized that societies are largely constructed for the purpose of maintaining a marketplace.  Roads are built, insitutions are constructed, waterways are cleared and made navigable, even diseases are cured, etc.  Ordinarily, such achievements benefit everyone, but Smith recognized that they benefited the wealthy disproportionately.  For instance, whereas you and I may use a highway to get to work, the wealthy benefit from the highway because it allows easier access for their labor to come to work, but also is used to transport goods and services and attract customers. The quality of the road may impact the cost of doing business, the accessability of resources and community involvement. The wealthy businessowner benefits from the highway in many more ways than the average working man.

The same is true for any infrastructure.  The wealthy benefit more.  In fact, in many cases it’s directly to benefit the wealthy that much social investment is made.  So is it unreasonable to expect that the wealthy will pay more into the public coffer than the average man who is actually contributing his time and labor as well as his tax money?   Adam Smith didn’t think so, and neither should you.

The wealthy, when taxed, remain wealthy.  Maybe they can only afford the thirty five foot yaght rather than the 50 footer that they always wanted.  Oh well.  But the free market myth makers would have us feel sorry for this jilted boat enthusiast when many of us are driving cars that are held together by bailing wire and chewing gum.

It’s long since time to spread the wealth around.  The wealthy already pay a smaller percentage of taxes than the middle class before they shelter their holdings and cook their books to maximize losses and minimize gains in the eyes of the IRS.  Most progressives are looking for equality in taxation.  That’s giving the wealthy more than Adam Smith would.


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