Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

What Is A Slave’s Marginal Tax Rate?

In Opinion on December 26, 2011 at 8:30 pm

What does it mean to “create a job?”

I just watched a re-run of an interview by Neil Cavuto in which Las Vegas business man, Steve Wynn. criticizes the crooks and liars in DC for not understanding the most fundamental, most basic principle in economic theory.  In doing so, he gives as good a definition of “create a job” as I’ve heard from anyone – and that wasn’t even the question he was asked.

Mr. Wynn said, “[w]e know that, in the history of civilization, the only thing that has ever given a better quality of life to another human being is the demand for that other human being’s labor in spite of their [sic] station in life.  If the only thing that makes a better life is a demand for labor, it raises the question, what is the purpose of government?  It is to create an environment that fosters a better life for it’s citizens. That doesn’t mean doling out money to them for work they don’t do; it’s creating an environment where the private sector, . . . the only source [of demand for labor] known to mankind in history, [can] create a demand for human labor . . .  We need a rule of law, we need national defense, but we need a government that understands that the most important thing to the life and happiness of the people who live in every country is that the private sector continues to expand, that people take risks and create jobs.  Sure there are people who get wealthy as a result of that; it’s because they risk everything.”

He doesn’t set out to define “create a job,” but I think we can see it in there.  To create a job means to do something that produces demand for an additional man’s labor.  Has any government ever done that?  You might say, yes, when government decides to build a bridge or a road from X to Y, it produces demand for labor.  Well, NO, that act does not create demand for labor.  The source of the demand for the labor needed to build the bridge is the private sector’s desire to move bodies or a product from X to Y.  IF no one or thing has a productive need to get from X to Y, paying someone to build that road is ‘doling out money to them for work they didn’t do,’ because work is not sweating, work is producing with one’s labor something for which another man will pay.

Imagine a slave owner – hold your nose, if you must, but imagine.  Would Massa waste his slave’s labor having the slave dig a ditch just to fill it in?  No, he wouldn’t.  A man who owns labor, who values labor, does not waste it.  Why do we ask some men to waste their labor, to waste their lives by taking money to do nothing.

I’ve been saying for years that it’s a crime to tax one man so the money can be given to another.  Upon further reflection, I see two crimes in that transfer of money – first, the theft of the first man’s money and, second, the destruction of the second man’s life, the decision of lawmakers that the second man’s life consists of nothing more than eating, breathing and defecating.  Why else should we pay him to do nothing so he can live a life comprised of doing nothing productive?  Has that improved anyone’s quality of life?

Recently the government-reported unemployment rate changed from 9.0% to 8.6%, and many politicians averred that it was good news.  Then, in the next breath, most of them admitted that most of that ‘improvement’ was due to the fact that approximately 300,000 people stopped looking for work, so they just disappeared from the math – no longer in the denominator or the numerator; just no longer, poof, gone and unemployment rate is better!

Had the Lincoln administration kept such statistics, what would happen when a slave died or escaped his bondage?  What if a slave had his freedom restored and he got a job?  Would the unemployment rate have gone up or down or would it have stayed the same?

I think the 300,000 people who gave up looking for a job last month still count.  Imagine that Steve Wynn buys their labor from them, i.e gives them a job, and gets significantly richer as a result of the tasks he pays them to perform.  What should be the tax rate on the additional money he makes because he hired 300,000 people?

I say 0%.  What does Barack Obama think is the right rate?  Mitt Romney?

Do we know whether Harriet Tubman was in the 1%?  If she was making money on the Underground Railroad, what would her marginal tax rate have been?


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