In Defense Of Economic Nationalism

I have been a staunch critic of the idea, prevalent in Democratic party circles, that the rich have too much money that they don’t need.  The latest salvo favoring this idea comes from Mark Zuckerberg, the fifth richest person in the world (70 billion net worth), who is quoted as saying “no one deserves to have that much money.”

‘”I don’t know if I have an exact threshold on what amount of money someone should have, but on some level no one deserves to have that much money,” the Facebook (FB) CEO said during a town hall event at the company’s headquarters on Thursday in response to an employee question about [Bernie] Sanders’ comments.”’

The problem I have with this comment, as Mr. Zuckerberg himself acknowledges, is that he does not know “what amount of money someone should have.”  That’s right Mark. Neither you nor Sanders nor Warren should decide from on high what is the right amount of money a billionaire should have.

Now, if Mr. Zuckerberg wants, voluntarily and without compulsion from anyone or the government, to give it away, as he has promised to do, that’s fine.  There is a long and venerable tradition of giving in our nation.

Having said that, I do have a problem when corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes.  Thanks to the Republican tax cuts and corporate tax rate reduction, corporations now pay 21%. President Trump and the Republicans have made it possible in the last two years for corporations to repatriate their wealth—for many years protected in off-shore accounts, or through loopholes—because of the high tax rate under previous administrations.

But when I read that corporations in the last two years are either not investing in our economy as they should, as Senator Rubio correctly pointed out in his trenchant critique of “buy-backs (see my article on Senator Rubio on this page), or that they are still recurring to loopholes to avoid paying taxes even at the reduced rate—then I get angry.

I get angry because it gives people like Warren and Sanders an opportunity to attack the wealthy and the corporations as “greedy” and as “having too much money that they don’t need”; and the Republican tax cuts as another “gift for the rich.”

If we don’t want a socialist revolution in our country, the billionaires and the corporations, as Senator Rubio has pointed out, must invest in our country, and must pay their taxes.  Away with the loopholes that allow the biggest corporations to avoid paying taxes! Don’t give ammunition to the left, for our nation’s sake.

So, Mr. Zuckerberg, as I have said to another guilt-ridden billionaire on this page, don’t let Sanders and Warren make you feel guilty because you have earned so much money.  Instead, invest it by creating jobs, professional development opportunities for our workers, better paying jobs, new industries.

If you want to give it away, good; if you invest it in our nation and people, EVEN BETTER.  Make your money count, and this goes for you and the corporations that are playing right into the hands of the people who will surely take it away from you once they are in power.