The American Jizya

Some time ago, while the lovely Nina and I were visting our daughter at college in Ann Arbor, we went to a local comedy club. The featured act was a very funny fellow by the name of D.C. Malone, who told us, after he was intoduced, that he had just quit drinking a few weeks ago.

He paused, then picked up a glass containing ice and Irish whiskey, took a long, loving draught. After an appreciative smack of his lips, he sighed, and said: “…it isn’t going all that well.”

I know what he means; I had sort of stopped blogging about politics, too. Oh well. Maybe just tonight…

Yesterday, April 11th, was Tax Freedom Day. That’s the calendar day, steadily advancing each year, upon which, if we pro-rate our yearly earnings, the dwindling number of us who are net producers of redistributable wealth can be reckined to have discharged our obligation to enrich the vast vaults of the public treasury, and are permitted by our masters to begin toiling on our own behalf. Columnist Mark Steyn honored the occasion this year with an acerbic item for the National Review.

Mr. Steyn calls to our attention that by 2012, Americans who get more from the government than they pay into it will be in the majority. A moment’s reflection is enough to see that this is an unstable configuration, as the author observes at the end of his essay:

We are now not merely disincentivizing economic energy but actively waging war on it. If 51 percent can vote themselves government lollipops from the other 49 percent, soon 60 percent will be shaking down the remaining 40 percent, and then 70 percent will be sticking it to the remaining 30 percent. How low can it go?

Or, as someone else said recently, it’s like 12 wolves and 11 sheep voting on what to have for dinner.

There’s more:

When you think about it, that 53 percent of American households props up not just this country but half the planet: They effectively pick up the defense tab for our wealthiest allies, so that Germany, Japan, and others can maintain minimal militaries and lavish the savings on cradle-to-grave entitlements. A relatively tiny group of people is writing the check for the entire global order. What proportion of them would need to figure out that the game’s no longer worth it to bring the whole system crashing down?

You can read the whole thing here.

As for me: boy, am I going to feel lousy in the morning.

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