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Obama, Warren, Krauthammer and the rich paying their fair share

First, Sen. Elizabeth Warren:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory... Now look. You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea - God bless! Keep a hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

And then-president Obama:

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.) 
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

And now Krauthammer, laying the smackdown on the pretentious redistributionist crap above:

"Everyone drives the roads, goes to school, uses the mails. So did Steve Jobs. Yet only he created the Mac and the iPad."

(column reproduced and read by yours truly in his magisterial collection Things That Matter)

The rich already pay a greater share of their income in taxes than the non-rich.  That means they're already paying a greater share of their income for the same public services available to everyone else, i.e., they're already paying more outright for the same services.  They just made better use of it than the others did, using their brainpower.  But that's not enough for the "progressives."  (About the only thing "progressive" about leftists is how steeply progressive a tax structure they support.)  The above arguments from Warren and Obama purport to show how paying a lot in taxes is merely giving back for the support one has received, but they're actually disguised arguments for redistribution (the sine qua non of distinctively Democratic tax policy).  What they should do is explain to everyone in straightforward and plain terms, in light of Krauthammer's point, how Steve Jobs' wealth should be forcibly transferred to other people who didn't create the Mac and the iPad.

If they want to get advanced in their arguments, they should explain how Rawls trumps Rand (the intellectual who more than any other dramatized and explained the role of the mind/intellect in wealth creation) on this point.  Perhaps in the process they can apply Rawls' point (from section 17 of A Theory of Justice -- do a search on "superior character" at https://genius.com/John-rawls-a-theory-of-justice-excerpts-annotated ) about not deserving a superior character that "depends in good part upon fortunate family and circumstances in early life," and see how far they get with that with the American people.  (Compare/contrast with Rand on character.)

(A person less intellectually corrupt and less full-of-himself than today's "progressives" might bring up the following: The rich have more wealth to protect from would-be criminals or foreign invaders, so it only makes sense that they pay a commensurate amount in taxes.  That would justify a flat tax, at best, not a progressive tax structure.  Moreover, it's quite reasonable to ask whether it takes a thousand times as much money to protect a billionaire's wealth than to protect a millionaire's wealth.  What if the billionaire could get a better wealth-protection package from a private provider than what he can get from the state?  Supposedly that isn't an option given that the state provides protection as a 'public good' (and assuming that no voluntary funding mechanisms for public goods are available).  But under libertarian justice this hypothetical private alternative serves as a proper baseline against which to determine whether the person whose wealth is being protected is getting a fair return on taxes paid, i.e., isn't being made to pay more than what is necessary to cover the wealth-protection costs.  Just because a person's wealth is vulnerable to predation in a state of nature, doesn't make it okay for the state to take part in some measure or other of functionally-unnecessary predation itself under the guise of protection.)

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