A good definition of democratic socialism is the appetite for believing things that aren’t true. Socialists are true believers with an itch that in order to sell socialism they need to add something to remove the curse, so they add a modifier meant to sooth the skeptics. Hence, we get the term democratic socialism. We’re supposed to think that makes it better, fair and sensible.
Liberals love modifiers. Ordinary justice doesn’t work for them because it leaves something out that they want, such as injustice in their favor. They fix that little problem with a modifier, social justice. This is to distinguish between the justice they want, the justice that favors them even if it hurts someone else, and real justice which will hold them to account for the harm they do in pursuit of their political agenda.
Socialism having been a failure always and everywhere it needs the “democratic” modifier to make it more palatable to doubters. Lies fly while the truth comes limping behind. The lie of democratic socialism swaggers while the humble truth of its horrific effects gets tossed aside, never to rear its head, or so they hope.
Truth will out at some point. The truth about democratic socialism is that democratic socialists quickly become undemocratic once they attain power. That, it turns out, was the goal all along.
One way to reach their goal, they believe, is to promise to soak the rich with high taxes.
Soaking the rich has nothing to do with improving the lot of the poor. Life at the bottom does not get better just because life at the top gets worse. A high tax on the rich does not raise more revenue for the government. It does just the opposite because (1) the rich already pay most of the taxes collected by the government, and (2) the rich are not different than anyone else in their reaction to incentives.
If higher marginal tax rates are imposed on the rich they will seek ways to avoid it, as would anyone else if they could. One way to avoid unfair taxes is to simply not earn the income that is going to be taxed at a high rate. This is especially true for those who are already rich enough to live comfortably without additional income that will simply be taxed away.
Refusing to earn highly taxed income is accomplished by not investing in projects that might produce that income. Who does this hurt the most? Not those who decided to forego the investment. It’s those who might have found good-paying jobs in the project that didn’t happen. Those who support soaking the rich are simply cutting off their noses to….you know the rest.
If increasing revenue to the government were the real goal of democratic socialists they would lower the tax rate for the rich. Ronald Reagan proved it. When the highest tax was lowered to 28% in 1983 annual revenue to the government almost doubled. Incentives matter.
The irresistible urge to soak the rich does not rest on any desire to help the poor or to make life more fair and equal for everyone. Experience shows it never works that way. So what exactly does motivate this desire to impose high tax rates at the top brackets? It can be explained in one powerful word: envy.
Few desires are more destructive than envy, the temptation to covet the property of others. Nothing will destroy a person’s happiness like envy of what others have. We must be clear on what envy really is. It’s a feeling of discontent and resentful longing aroused by other people’s possessions, quality or luck. Leftism breeds envy because it is so closely related. Leftism is resentment and a demand for power disguised as compassion.
The end result of the leftist liberal demand for power will never favor those who believe they can improve their own lives by bringing down those who appear to have better and happier lives. If you want to improve the world you must start with improving yourself. If everyone did that the world would be a better place. The world is improved by people who improve themselves. Noticing how much more someone else has is a good thing if it motivates us to improve ourselves as the path to our own success. To do that we must first abandon envy. It’s just too destructive, mainly to those who allow themselves to wallow in it.
That’s a lot of people, unfortunately.
Here’s a video on what Steven Crowder has to say about putting the word “democratic” in front of socialism”