Thursday, October 14, 2010

greed is universal; ignorance and hilarity when it's depicted as a purely market phenomenon

Greed is all over-- whatever the market system; whatever the occupation; however it's defined (and that's tough if you try earnestly!). But a lot of people seem to think it's relegated to business, capitalism, and economic markets. They need to brush up on-- or take for the first time-- Economics 101 and Philosophy 101.

Here's Thomas Sowell at on government and greed...

Those who are always accusing people in the private sector of "greed" almost never accuse government of greed, no matter what it does. Indeed, the question of whether the government is greedy almost never comes up...

Sowell talks about government seizing passive bank accounts and discusses "escheat laws"-- when the govt seizes the assets of the deceased whose heirs have not claimed those assets after awhile.

The theory is that there is no reason why banks should get that money. On the other hand, there is no reason why politicians should get it either, but the politicians write the laws....

Escheat laws are just one of the ways governments seize money. Income tax rates have been as high as 90 percent in the top brackets. Even after you have paid the taxes on your income and saved or invested part of what is left, the government comes back to take more of that same money, after you die, with estate taxes.

Perhaps one of the most unconscionable acts of greed by government is confiscating people's homes, in order to turn this property over to other people, who are expected to build things that will pay more taxes.

The Constitution allows the government to take private property for its own use, provided "just compensation" is paid. That way the government can build reservoirs, bridges, or highways, for example, even if that requires displacing some people. But judges over the years have expanded this power to include taking private property just to turn it over to some other private individual or business....

And after all this, Sowell is hardly touching the massive greed that informs the decisions of special interest groups and politicians.


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