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Reblogged:Conservative Squabbles Over WHICH New Tax

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Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute writes in City Journal about two competing proposals whose Democratic sponsors claim will improve the labor market. One proposal, by Representative Ro Khanna (D-CA), is to redistribute $1 trillion over the next decade via the Earned Income Tax Credit to people who earn less than some amount he deems too little. Cass, focusing on the fact that this plan appears to support such workers, labels this measure as the "Support" view of government policy regarding low-paying jobs. The other proposal is deemed the "Penalize" view by Cass for reasons that will soon become obvious. Bernie Sanders wants to "Stop BEZOS", i.e., Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies. Sanders would redistribute money directly looted from corporations for every cent of government benefits any of its employees receive. Khanna supports both plans, but look at what Cass, a conservative, has to say about them:

Tails, we lose, tails, we lose. (Image via Pixabay.)
Khanna's two proposals -- providing a government benefit to low-wage workers and punishing employers whose workers receive government benefits -- represent contradictory poles in the national debate over how to strengthen a labor market whose lower end has seen stagnating wages for decades. In the first view, employers play a constructive and irreplaceable role by connecting less-skilled workers with productive work. Low-wage jobs are by no means ideal, but the low wage reflects the job's economic value, not a corporate plot to extract outsize profits. The jobs represent for some people their best opportunity to participate in the economy, and for many more the crucial first step onto an economic ladder that can lead higher. Either way, jobs are important to society, and we want them to be available. [bold added]
Looting money from some Americans to give to others and ... looting money from some Americans to give to others are the two poles of a debate? If so, there is no real debate and we are merely squabbling over details. Unfortunately, Cass apparently mistakes this for a real debate and even chooses a "side":
As the Right joins the Left in recognizing the need to address the labor market's shortcomings [!], the fight will evolve [sic] from whether to do something toward what to do. Expect this "Support vs. Penalize" battle to move from within Ro Khanna's head to the forefront of our national debate -- and pray that the coherent side wins.
If you are a fellow student of Ayn Rand, you may find that the above reminds you of any number of the false dichotomies that run through the most of the philosophies that influence our culture -- and that Rand debunked. But here's a passage from Rand that Cass has helped me recall and that I find particularly troubling:
For many decades, the leftists have been propagating the false dichotomy that the choice confronting the world is only: communism or fascism -- a dictatorship of the left or of an alleged right -- with the possibility of a free society, of capitalism, dismissed and obliterated, as if it had never existed. (The Objectivist, June 1968)
This article has been written by a senior member of a highly respected think tank, and there is no mention of the real alternative, which is: for the government to stop looting the productive, indirectly ("support") or directly ("penalize"), because doing so is wrong, and ultimately harms everyone. The only difference between these varieties of poison is that the first comes sugar-coated. At least the second one, envious motivation fully on display, is the more honest.

-- CAV

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