I have had issues with Thom Hartmann’s revisionist history, he tends to take pieces out of context and create an alternate history. His latest piece is no exception.
At what point does great wealth held in a few hands actually harm democracy, threatening to turn a democratic republic into an oligarchy?
It’s a debate we haven’t had freely and openly in this nation for nearly a century, and last week, by voting to end the Estate Tax, House Republicans tried to ensure that it wouldn’t be had again in this generation.
But it’s a debate that’s vital to the survival of democracy in America.
In a letter to Joseph Milligan on April 6, 1816, Thomas Jefferson explicitly suggested that if individuals became so rich that their wealth could influence or challenge government, then their wealth should be decreased upon their death. He wrote, “If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree…”
Of course this begs the question how much wealth becomes a threat to the state? Who gets to decide? And what Due Process is the estate granted before this theft takes place. What Thom ignores are the words in the same paragraph that says otherwise.
To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, “the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, and the fruits acquired by it.
Now why would Thom leave that little tidbit out of his piece and why didn’t he link to the source? Of course it’s because it demolishes the entire concept of the theft in the name of Redistribution called the progressive tax. Thomas Jeffeson was a proponent of the flat tax plain and simple. Now Thomas Jefferson was not heartless, he did make provisions for those too poor to pay, he would have exempted those who made too little. From the same letter.
To this a single observation shall yet be added. Whether property alone, and the whole of what each citizen possesses, shall be subject to contribution, or only its surplus after satisfying his first wants, or whether the faculties of body and mind shall contribute also from their annual earnings, is a question to be decided. But, when decided, and the principle settled, it is to be equally and fairly applied to all.
But it gets even worse for Thom, if it was decided that the tax was an income tax Thomas Jefferson would have abolished all other taxes. The gasoline tax, the coercive sin taxes. Even the Obamacare Penalty aka Tax would be abolished as it amounts to double taxation.
For example, if the system be established on the basis of Income, and his just proportion on that scale has been already drawn from every one, to step into the field of Consumption, and tax special articles in that, as broadcloth or homespun, wine or whiskey, a coach or a wagon, is doubly taxing the same article. For that portion of Income with which these articles are purchased, having already paid its tax as Income, to pay another tax on the thing it purchased, is paying twice for the same thing; it is an aggrievance on the citizens who use these articles in exoneration of those who do not, contrary to the most sacred of the duties of a government, to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.
So no Thom he did not call for a blanket death tax. His out of context quote “If the overgrown wealth of an individual be deemed dangerous to the State” First you would have to prove in a court of law that the wealth amassed is so great that it’s actually a threat. To do otherwise violates the fifth amendment “nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law”
Come on Thom, no more revisionist history.