The President has argued that our tax laws are not “fair,” citing Warren Buffet’s supposedly paying a lower tax rate than his secretary as indisputable proof of unfairness (but what of the President’s tax rate compared to his own secretary?)
I am glad to see we may actually open a real national debate on fairness:
But the last part of [Senate Minority Leader] McConnell’s remarks took on a different tone–one that suggests a newfound willingness to contest the president’s fairness narrative. “The president talks about fairness,” McConnell said. “But when it comes to rising gas prices, the American people don’t think it’s particularly fair that at a time when they’re struggling to fill up the tank, their own tax dollars are being used to subsidize failing solar companies of the President’s choosing.”
In other words, energy policy matters for fairness, not just economic efficiency. And true fairness is not consistent with statist cronyism.
McConnell is not the only one contesting the Left on fairness. Senator Jon Kyl recently spoke on the Senate floor giving free enterprise a robust defense–and using fairness as the yardstick against which it should be judged. “Free market capitalism,” Kyl said, “is the most fair system in the world-and the most moral. It is premised on voluntary transactions that make both sides happy by meeting their needs.”
Kyl rightly called out government’s picking of winners and losers, cronyism, bailouts, tax loopholes, and the idea of “too big to fail” as examples of unfairness.
Representatives Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and other leaders who take free enterprise seriously are comfortable making the ethical case for the system, placing true fairness at the center of their argument.
This view of fairness is part of what makes America unique. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote on American meritocracy, saying Americans were “contemptuous of the theory of permanent equality of wealth.” More prosaically, rock singer Bono once noted, “In America, you look at the mansion on the hill and think, ‘One day that will be me.’ In Ireland, people say, ‘One day, I’m going to get that bastard.’”
For the first time in many years, we are poised to have a great national political conversation not just on broad policy issues, but on our national values. Defenders of free enterprise should remind Americans that the choice of the system that rewards merit, promotes individual responsibility, and celebrates industry is not merely an economic decision. It is also a moral imperative.