Thursday, October 28, 2021

Ben Shapiro: Punishing Achievement Is Punishing Everyone

This week, Democrats settled on an area of apparent commonality: the desire to eat the rich. According to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, "Senator Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee ... would impose a tax on unrealized gains on liquid assets held by extremely wealthy individuals, billionaires." While Yellen refused to call this a "wealth tax," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had no such qualms: "We probably will have a wealth tax," she said.

    This has long been a talking point for the most Marxist-leaning Democrats, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who famously proposed a 2% wealth tax on all assets of a family above $50 million and 6% on all assets above $1 billion. Elated Warren supporter Adam Jentleson told The Washington Post, "Biden's agenda was about to fall apart, but Warren had a plan for that."

    So, what do wealth taxes do? They destroy value by taxing unrealized value. Say, for example, that you are a business owner who created a company now valuated at $1 billion. And say that you have built that business over the course of the last five years, paying yourself a post-tax, post-expenditure salary of $5 million per year. You would be liquid to the tune of $25 million. Under Warren's proposal, $950 million of those unrealized assets would be taxed at 2%, meaning that you would be on the hook for an annual tax of $19 million. You would have no choice but to liquidate your stock, undermining its price and endangering the growth of your company. 

    Wealth taxes have been tried in a variety of countries, and they have regularly failed. When France created a wealth tax, some 42,000 millionaires left; French President Emmanuel Macron eventually killed it. From 1990 onward, nine out of the 12 European countries that had a wealth tax followed Macron's lead and killed their wealth taxes.

    So, what's the point of a wealth tax if, in the end, it will fail?

    The point is the punishment. Biden and Warren are seeking to tax dollars that (SET ITAL) do not yet exist, (END ITAL) because the people who have created those dollars are worthy of sanction. While Biden constantly blathers that he is a capitalist who doesn't seek to punish earners -- only to make them pay their fair share -- he's simply lying. Earners in America certainly pay their fair share: the top 1% of income earners pay approximately 40% of all income taxes while earning just 21% of all income; the highest quintile of income earners pay virtually all net taxes in America after income transfers by the government. This isn't about a "fair share." It's about disincentivizing wealth creation, demonizing it, treating it as a mark of sin. 

    Unfortunately, we have mainstreamed such economic and moral idiocy. When we speak of the wealthy as the "privileged," we betray our own unwillingness to speak the obvious: High-income earners provide more and better goods and services to people than lower-income earners. That is why their income is high. Income is a reflection of consensual transactions resulting in voluntary trades. Innovation and risk-taking (SET ITAL) must be rewarded (END ITAL) in order for them to take place; to then attribute success to "privilege" or "luck" is to pretend that a free-market system is some sort of lottery. It isn't. If we decide that it is somehow more altruistic and moral to receive government benefits than to take risks that result in economic success, we destroy the economic mechanism that has generated all of our prosperity -- and the individuals who make that mechanism work.

    And that's the point. What begins as a small tax on an upper crust doesn't stay that way. The original income tax contemplated in the United States was 1% applied to the lowest tax bracket, and 7% on those making $500,000 or more. Today, the top marginal income tax rate is 37%; income above $86,000 is taxed at 24%. Eventually, the agenda becomes clear: going after all earners, not merely those at the top. When achievement is punished, there are no income barriers.

    Ben Shapiro, 37, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of "The Ben Shapiro Show," and editor-in-chief of He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers "How To Destroy America In Three Easy Steps," "The Right Side Of History," and "Bullies." To find out more about Ben Shapiro and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at



Anonymous said...

I am okay if they specifically tax hedge fund managers, currency speculators, and anyone whose wealth is derived from usury or collecting rent. Basically the parasites getting rich by producing absolutely nothing.

Also, we need to the biblical Debt Jubilee apply to all people legally and no, bankruptcies don’t count as debt jubilees since they bear negative consequences to the indebted.

Anonymous said...

Billionaires pay zero personal tax and their businesses pay zero business taxes. Then, their companies are subsidized by our taxes. Give me that deal any day.

Anonymous said...

It used to be millionaires but now that MOST elected up in D.C. are millionaires the focus shifted. Lol, if I were a billionaire you ask ? I would use large portions of my money setting these chumps up in "pay to play" videos that I would buy ads on TV and show the world. And I would do it until I was only worth 870 million. Seriously, how are these billionaires stomachs not churning ? They could literally end these fools .

Anonymous said...

The rich need to be eaten!

Anonymous said...

Politicians on both sides have agendas that do not protect the so-called "working class" they either pander to the super rich who buy them or they pander to voters who they pay with government pork to keep them in power. If there is anything approaching reason it is a tax on windfall inheritances, i.e. an estate tax. Heirs of the super rich didn't earn the money and taxing them at a high rate does not de-incentivize creativeness or risk-taking. If my billionaire daddy leaves 1 billion and the government wants a couple hundred mil, I can still sit on my ass just as well on 800 mil. who knows, I might even go to work and earn my own fortune. I will still have a damn better head start than most. But I suppose it's poisonous stuff being "the death tax"

Anonymous said...

Billionaires shouldn’t pay a lesser percentage of their income to taxes than the middle class and yet they have been for years. Trying to spin this as something other than closing that gap is a losing strategy for the Republicans.

Anonymous said...

Simple Ben think Democrats like free things. So he rewards them by letting them live in his head rent free. Not even three words in, it becomes abundantly clear that his trash article is going to be yet another half baked political hit piece, which is not exactly what our hyper partisan society needs these days.

I know you aren’t reading, Ben. Even if you were local, you’re too busy trying to further divide an already divided country. But, I hope you find God. That’s about the only thing I could think of that would make you start acting better.

Anonymous said...

The taxing of already taxes money is what pisses me off. No I’m not a billionaire, probably a half million in net worth, which is chump change. Taxing the same money multiple times is theft.

Oh, to the chump who hates landlords, get a real job, fix your credit, and buy a home. Renting is an expensive option for those who would otherwise be homeless. It has its place. If you are a permanent renter, you need to evaluate your finances. No one owes you a free place to live.

Anonymous said...

Here's an actual real-world problem with taxing unrealized gains, but...well, keep reading.

Elon Musk in now the richest person on earth, but taxing him on his unrealized gains would cause quite a bit of damage across the spectrum and he still wouldn't pay a whole hell of a lot. Here's why:

Musk's "net worth" is largely due to Tesla's stock price and he owns a lot of it. With his incentives, he has acquired more each year for the last several. However, his Tesla salary is $1 a year and while he gets some income from his other ventures and investments, he has nothing remotely approaching his "net worth." In fact, he (like many others in his position - Bezos, Zuckerberg, Benioff, etc.) has taken personal loans against his stock holdings (yes, it is partially a tax strategy that allows retention of control) rather than sell any. In any event, it's largely illusory because no entity with the ability (no person has the ability) to cash him out would cash him out at current prices, so while the stock price might suggest one net worth, reality dictates another. It is akin to owning an object supposedly "worth" a trillion dollars - it might be "worth" that on whatever "market value" guesstimate someone might create, but since there is no market or even a buyer with the ability to buy at that price, it isn't _worth_ that in the real world.

So, let's say Musk is taxed 15% of the roughly $300ish billion PAPER gain from his Tesla stock, or $45 billion. He doesn't have anything approaching that amount in cash so he'll have to sell stock. That will drop the price of the stock so he and his holdings won't be worth as much and he won't owe as much, but he still won't have the cash required so he'll continue to sell and the price will continue to fall. At some point, the intersection between what he owes and what the stock is selling for will occur and he will have sold enough to meet whatever the current price indicates his "worth" is and he can stop. However, all others holding the stock will have suffered the loss. But before that could happen, the lawsuits would have been filed, injunctions issued, etc. But it's OK because none of it will happen.

This is just another thing in the eternal line of safe-to-promote nonsense pols use to pander to their idiot constituents. Not all of them are idiots, just the ones who think any of this should or would ever happen. It is no different than nonsense about taking all the guns, getting rid of "welfare," etc. Whether Dem or GOP, they all know none of these type of things will ever pass so they can promise and pander, and then, claim they really, really tried.

"Eat the Rich" might look like a great idea when plastered on AOC's shapely young, naive ass, but as a real-world solution in a real world, it is little more than fantasy for the gullible and naive, regardless of the attractiveness of their rearends.

I'm Not Wealthy, But What's Mine Ain't Yours.. said...

6:29 - Please take your thought a step further and tell us what you believe 'God Would Have Ben Shapiro Do' related specifically to this tax issue...well, other than throw out satchels of Benjamins at the corner of Lakeland and 55. Do we penalize ALL forms of success (even while initially hiding only behind wealth)?

And while you're at it, tell us (related to education and job advancement) why you think it's only fair that our systems should deny, decry and ban the notions of excelling in both the educational arena and the typical practice of promoting employees based on achievement and performance...both Democrat goals and snake-pits.

Now that you've been challenged, either shit or get off!

Anonymous said...

“Atlas Shrugged”

Anonymous said...

I am shocked that earlier posters appear to be in favor of a "wealth tax". Apparently, they don't understand how their federal government always starts at the top then whittles down to the middle class when it comes to taxes. Like the alternative minimum tax, which truly was aimed at twenty-five families that legally owed no federal taxes. Guess what? Some middle-class taxpayers are paying that now.

But aside from this, the Democrats have a serious constitutional problem to overcome. Namely that the constitution only authorizes "income taxes" and not taxes on property that has not produced income but may be increasing in value. There is no authority to impose a tax on unrealized "income".

I really do hate to see people falling into the trap of supporting "taxing the rich". People ignore how much the rich already pay, and ignore the fact that nearly half of the population pays no income tax. This is just class envy, but as for myself, I admire people who do well, even if they get fabulously rich. After all, they would not have gotten rich had they not created some product or something that many people want. YOu do like your Apple phone and your home computer, don't you? You do like the convenience of shopping on Amazon, don't you?

Anonymous said...

It’s sad to watch Shapiro descend from a moral, principled conservative to a water carrier for his billionaire bosses. Sounds like a few of the local activists here, actually.

Anonymous said...

Tax the rich! How else are we going to give illegal aliens free money? As long as you slap a pride flag on it, X for gender on a passport, or claim something’s racist liberals are excited about it, they have no clue about reality.

Anonymous said...

Was this approved by Joe Mansion?

Anonymous said...

I'm sure our Massachusetts millionaire adviser to Tater and Feel and the Northeast Jerkson types will quickly tell us why taxing "wealth managers" (who sponsor and post here) as well as their clients (who sponsor and post here) is just a terrible idea. After 40 years of offshoring, tax dodges, etc.

What Ben won't tell you is that every tax dodge, ahem "tax expenditure," increases your middle class taxes. Every EITC tax shift, every stim check that Bubba and Cletus ate up, every Restaurant Welfare check for Robert St John, increases taxes more on the middle and upper middle class, while reducing the dirty riches' taxes. That's why Dems and RINOs and LiberaL-tarians agree on tax dodges.

There is no difference between Haley Barbour or Terry McAuliffe when it comes to GubMint spending, taxes, or the Swamp. Much less Tater and the Dope Boys of Madison.

And we'll see how NOTHING in this new massive spending bill is "Free" and it WON'T be paid for by the rich. All these companies, often headquartered in Delaware, home of Joe Biden and US Corporations, are NOT paying even what's fair for them.

Globalist Corporatist commies, wearing camo in Mississippi and couture on the Vineyard. And we pay for their sloth and degeneracy. Hiding their money all over the place, but posting here about state retirees or free lunches for poor kids. Going to hell for their greed.

Anonymous said...

The country's current fiscal trajectory is pitchforks and torches. Period.

We are still on Reaganomics and it clearly hasn't worked.

Wages are low, cost of living has gone up.

Something has to change with the economic policies in this country.

And the policies that are necessary to level off the economy and save the middle class, are not very popular with the "Conservative" majority in this state.

Anonymous said...

If you begin taxing unrealized gains, do you also get tax credits for unrealized losses?

Anonymous said...

Yet, we continue to put these folks back in power over and over again.

Anonymous said...

It's coming;

"In the name of the general welfare, to protect the people's security, to achieve full equality and total stability, it is decreed for the duration of the national emergency that -- "
It goes on to list several 'points' which are the action directives that Directive 10-289 will employ and enforce (which just so happen to greatly benefit the conspirators making them:

"Point One. All workers, wage earners and employees of any kind whatsoever shall henceforth be attached to their jobs and shall not leave nor be dismissed nor change employment, under penalty of a term in jail. The penalty shall be determined by the Unification Board , such Board to be appointed by the Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources. All persons reaching the age of twenty-one shall report to the Unification Board, which shall assign them to where, in its opinion, their services will best serve the interests of the nation.
"Point Two. All industrial, commercial, manufacturing and business establishments of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth remain in operation, and the owners of such establishments shall not quit nor leave nor retire, nor close, sell or transfer their business, under penalty of the nationalization of their establishment and of any and all of their property.
"Point Three. All patents and copyrights, pertaining to any devices, inventions, formulas, processes and works of any nature whatsoever, shall be turned over to the nation as a patriotic emergency gift by means of Gift Certificates to be signed voluntarily by the owners of all such patents and copyrights. The Unification Board shall then license the use of such patents and copyrights to all applicants, equally and without discrimination, for the purpose of eliminating monopolistic practices, discarding obsolete products and making the best available to the whole nation. No trademarks, brand names or copyrighted titles shall be used. Every formerly patented product shall be known by a new name and sold by all manufacturers under the same name, such name to be selected by the Unification Board. All private trademarks and brand names are hereby abolished.
"Point Four. No new devices, inventions, products, or goods of any nature whatsoever, not now on the market, shall be produced, invented, manufactured or sold after the date of this directive. The Office of Patents and Copyrights is hereby suspended.
"Point Five. Every establishment, concern, corporation or person engaged in production of any nature whatsoever shall henceforth produce the same amount of goods per year as it, they or he produced during the Basic Year , no more and no less. The year to be known as the Basic or Yardstick Year is to be the year ending on the date of this directive. Over or under production shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.
"Point Six. Every person of any age, sex, class or income, shall henceforth spend the same amount of money on the purchase of goods per year as he or she spent during the Basic Year, no more and no less. Over or under purchasing shall be fined, such fines to be determined by the Unification Board.
"Point Seven. All wages, prices, salaries, dividends, profits, interest rates and forms of income of any nature whatsoever, shall be frozen at their present figures, as of the date of this directive.
"Point Eight. All cases arising from and rules not specifically provided for in this directive, shall be settled and determined by the Unification Board, whose decisions will be final."

Anonymous said...

9:01, just go to the Babylon Bee. You can go ahead and lie to the IRS about making unrealized charitable deductions. Say, to the Poor, Poor Brett Favre Foundation. Good luck with that.

In reality, you can already slap GOP or Tea Party stickers all over your truck when paying zero Federal Income Tax yet get an Earned Income Tax (wink, wink, nod nod) CREDIT (EITC) tax "refund." Pay NOTHING and get a refund check. That's great math. Hell, it's better than the "Free" Biden Bill. The GOP created that one, sticking it to the middle class, and the Dems laughed and approved it.

Walmart plans huge inventories for the EITC "refund" joke every year, which helps pay for all their lobbyists. While we pay welfare and benefits to their underpaid employees.

Working class get tax breaks just like the Rich. And the folks in the middle get stuck with the tax bill, thanks to the Tea Party, RINOs, and Dems. All the same, tax dodgers.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is that humanity in general IS NOT READY for a NWO when it comes to currency and how it's used ! We are finally seeing several billionaires finally using their wealth to advance humanity with these trips to space ! This is a good thing ! You think by taking half their wealth this will continue ? No, it will not. Instead they will use the resources to tangle the Feds up in court...move the wealth out of country and totally crash the system forever. That is the "shit hit fan" moment no one wants. Many Democrats and a good many Republicans need to be got got.

Anonymous said...

@9:34 said…
It’s sad to watch Shapiro descend from a moral, principled conservative to a water carrier for his billionaire bosses. Sounds like a few of the local activists here, actually

No, you just got duped by a grifter.
And hopefully you learn a lesson.
When you trust a grifter, you lose.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever think about how funny this all is?
The people who are trying to tax the rich are the same people who made laws that allow rich people to avoid taxes.

Anonymous said...

It's not punishing achievement, it's punishing privilege other citizens can't enjoy.

It's reforming the tax code.

And, Lord Have Mercy, how much money does one really need to insure their luxurious life style AND that life style for their children?

There's nothing conservative or democratic or economically rational about creating an oligarchy and such disparity between the rich and poor AND the rich and middle class.

We are talking about taxing INCOME, not profits!!!

Y'all are SO gullible and so is Ben Shapiro or else he's being financially reward to spout this drivel.

Anonymous said...

Check how much is taken out of a minimum wage paycheck for taxes.

Then check the last taxes that are public now that President who claims the last election was "stolen" from him paid.

Most of you never see more than the money in hundreds of dollars he paid. You don't get to depreciate much of anything you own at the amounts he did even if you are over depreciating it.

What is true is that some people can make good money and not know crap about our existing tax code.

Anonymous said...

10:24 am know the trips were paid for by the travelers and that they are thinking about a new kind of air travel, not discovery to aid mankind.
How naive are you?

Anonymous said...

@9:01 Yes - The language, as proposed, would permit taxes on unrealized gains as well as credits for unrealized losses that could be used to offset future gains.

Anonymous said...

11:53 : These fellows aren't billionaires for nothing and making profit off a childhood dream would seem pointless to mention because it's a given. No matter what, these guys are pushing humanity forward and are doing a good bit with their own scratch.

Anonymous said...

@9:34 -- try again. They can call it an excise tax, no problem. Do it all the time. Over contribute to your retirement account and you'll see what an excise tax looks like.

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;"

Bill Dees said...

Every person in Mississippi who owns real estate, including their homestead, pays taxes every year on unrealized gains in value. When your house or other real property is reappraised by the tax assessor your taxes go up, even though all that gain is unrealized. Taxing unrealized gains in other assets should be treated no differently. The moneyed class has bamboozled (or bought off) legislators in order to get special treatment for their investments. This makes no sense whatsoever, not to mention unfair to homeowners.

Let's Go Brandon High School said...

No country has ever been taxed into prosperity. It makes me feel so good to say that I haven't paid one penny to the IRS since 1999. FJB and his IRS.

@10:09 AM is a Liar said...

@10:09 AM - Liar, liar, pants on fire. The EITC was proposed by DEMOCRAT Russell Long.

Anonymous said...

"...pays taxes every year on unrealized gains in value."

No, they do not. Property tax is, ahem, an _ad valorem_ tax, so using the current assigned value is appropriate. No one pays, is asked to pay, or expected to pay any tax on an unrealized, ahem, (capital) _gain_ on their home because until they sell, there is no capital gain. And even though property taxes are ad valorem, there are numerous credits, freezes, limitations on annual increases, etc., plus it is rare that the assessed value is the true market value, although the former often increases in tandem with the latter.

Where the ad valorem taxes will get people into trouble is when the value of home increases so much that the taxes become a larger and larger amount and percentage of the cost of ownership - the "PITI" in the case of a mortgage - and while they could afford the PITI at purchase, they cannot afford the increased cost of ownership at present value. Insurance, which is also essentially "ad valorem" in that it is based upon the replacement cost per square foot for a similar house, will also play a role in skyrocketing values and the inability to afford the home at its current value.

While the increases in taxes and insurance has always been true, and it wasn't unusual for the P & I portion of the mortgage to be less than the T & I portion after 20-plus years. However, the moderate increase in value normally followed along with the buyer's income increasing. But when someone buys a $200,000 home, which is "as much house as they can afford" in 2017-18 and that house shoots up to $300-400,000 by 2022, and the taxes and insurance also shoot up commensurately, things can (and will) get pretty sporty for a lot of folks.

In any case, even if the feds collected 100s of billions in taxes under whatever taxation rules from all the billionaires in the US, that won't matter one bit to homeowners in the above situation in Madison, MS or anywhere else.

Our AG Once Appeared in Court on a Bond Matter said...

2:18 - Can you tell me why my homeowners pushes me to insure my home at a rate that, in case of loss by fire, would also replace the foundation and dirt upon which the house sits? Talk about (just another) rip-off, although unrelated to taxes but based on tax assumptions and suggested valuations.

PS: You are not presenting a paper to a classroom full of tax attorneys and CPAs.

Anonymous said...

"2:18 - Can you tell me why my homeowners pushes me to insure my home at a rate that, in case of loss by fire, would also replace the foundation and dirt upon which the house sits?"

Er, no, I can't, but maybe, ahem, your agent or your company can.

I will offer this, but it is admittedly merely guessing from someone who has had homes built, not built homes, and applying some reasoning: if by "foundation," you mean slab-on-grade, chainwall, etc. and not pier and beam, and the current structure on such a foundation were burned so badly as to be considered a total loss, I would guess - but do not know - that unless you wanted an exact duplicate built and the various sewer, water, etc. through the foundation were salvageable, it would be more cost-effective to remove the heat-stressed foundation, subsurface, etc. and start fresh. If it was a pier and beam and a total loss, you'd have to replace it.

Anonymous said...

Hey, y'all keep supporting the Epstein's buddies and Russian oligarchs and the Xi's " citizens" buying our property.

When you figure out you've been played, if you are middle class or less , you'll be storming the Bastille. If you are a mere upper middle class or measley millionaire these days,
the angry hoards will , as in all of history, want what you have.

Your right wing flags and sympathy won't save you. They want to your " stuff" and to be you.

That's why benevolent despots last longer.

Your history 101 lesson of the day.

Anonymous said...

"Hey, y'all keep supporting the Epstein's buddies and Russian oligarchs and the Xi's " citizens" buying our property."

Oh, man, thanks for the information. When those guys in shiny suits showed up, introduced themselves as "Chang and Ivan from Waynesboro," kept calling me "comrade," and produced an aluminum briefcase filled with Euros saying they wanted to buy us out, I wondered what was up. Now I know.

If the Chinese are stupid enough to take Jackson off our hands, sell it to them. Within 48 hours, they'll beg us to take it back for pennies on the dollar. Use the proceeds to fix at least one problem and then it's only a whole lot left to fix. In other words, people in Madison don't even want much to do with Jackson, why would the Chinese?

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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