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Rand Paul: noblesse oblige out, Randroid in (tax on yachts)

Just after winning the Senate race from Kentucky, Rand Paul told Wolf Blitzer the following (video below and at peekURL.com/vufapvr ):

PAUL: I would say that they must be in favor of a second American depression, because if you raise taxes to that consequence, that's what will happen in this country. Raising taxes in the midst of a recession would be a disaster for our economy. And anybody who proposes such a policy really is, I think, unfit to be making decisions.

BLITZER: What if they just raised taxes on the richest, those making more than 250,000 dollars a year?

PAUL: Well, the thing is, we're all interconnected. There are no rich. There are no middle class. There are no poor. We all are interconnected in the economy. You remember a few years ago, when they tried to tax the yachts, that didn't work. You know who lost their jobs? The people making the boats, the guys making 50,000 and 60,000 dollars a year lost their jobs. We all either work for rich people or we sell stuff to rich people. So just punishing rich people is as bad for the economy as punishing anyone. Let's not punish anyone. Let's keep taxes low and let's cut spending.

You can read about the yacht tax here and here. It failed miserably, and was repealed by George HW Bush. The first link describes how Rep. Patrick Kennedy - a Democrat - wanted to give a tax break to yacht buyers in order to help the yacht industry rebound; George Will says of that "the subsidy to the wealthy would, to coin a phrase, trickle down".

So, there's a certain point to what Rand Paul says. However, what Rand Paul isn't saying is that after the yacht tax was enacted apparently some who wanted yachts had a neat trick: they'd buy a yacht in a foreign country and sail it to the U.S. as used and thereby avoid the tax which was on new yachts (link). Similar tax schemes are still in use today and were even in the news lately in regards to John Kerry (link). The rich really are different from us: they can afford highly-skilled accountants who'll help them avoid as much tax as possible.

Those who have gained the most from the U.S. do indeed give back by employing people. But, at the same time, they also send money, jobs, and infrastructure such as factories offshore. Rand Paul isn't calling them on that; Rand Paul isn't calling them on having even less of a sense of noblesse oblige and patriotism than the rich have had in the past.

And, Rand is revealing his inner Randroid: he clearly believes in the Ayn Rand "superman" ideal, where the rich simply are better than anyone else and they should be able to determine how to spend their own money no matter what's the best policy for the U.S. as a whole.

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Other tags: libertarians · politics

Wed, 11/03/2010 - 10:26 · Importance: 4