December 01, 2011 2:00 pm ET - by Alan Pyke
Last night on the House floor, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) shed some light on why Congress is so dysfunctional by revealing his deep conviction that the Democratic Party is anti-capitalist, worships Karl Marx, and hates freedom. Rather than a sincere group of public servants with different ideas about what government ought to do to manage the American political and economic system, King explained to the Democratic side of the chamber, liberals are egalitarian, collectivist, authoritarian and desperate for power.
KING: Here's the magic wand, give me the list of all the things that you want to do to take away the liberty and freedom of the American people, take away the wealth and the capital that's been so justly earned by people in this country, and redistribute the wealth in the ideal of Karl Marx or any of those other leftists that you worship, grant all of the wishes that you have, reorder society according to all of your dreams, and let you have 30 days to put the list together, and at midnight when the ball drops at Times Square, stroke the magic wand, give you all your entire wish list. [...]
And in the end I granted you your wish at midnight at the new year, but the deal would be that you had to then stop complaining the rest of your life, you'd have to live under the rules that you'd written that you spent 30 days, all your career wishing and dreaming and working and leveraging for in this Congress. We'd give you everything you asked for on the New Year but you'd have to be quiet then and live under those rules, and I can tell you what'd happen. You'd stay up all night long on New Year's night thinking, what did we forget, how did he cheat us, we really forgot to leave this in, we need to change the rules, and we're gonna want more and more and more. Because first of all you don't want to admit to the American people what you really want to do: You're anti-capitalists, you're anti-American liberty, you're anti-free enterprise, there are a number of the pillars of American exceptionalism that you just plain oppose.
King went on to explain that "business deals are set up because each party benefits; there doesn't need to be a loser in an economic transaction." You only need to look back to the bursting of the housing bubble to see that real-life markets don't always live up to King's classroom philosophizing. The collapse of the global financial system, the thousands upon thousands of fraudulent foreclosures on American families, and the millions of layoffs resulting from the recession can all be blamed upon the rapacious Gordon Gekko mentality on Wall Street and the deregulation of the finance industry. King pretends none of this is true because it's easier to give Econ 101 lectures and rail against the supposed Marxism of Democrats than it is to reexamine his own assumptions.
If Republicans wanted to have a reality-based conversation about liberal ideas for economic prosperity, we could start with tax data. Economists who've actually scrutinized that data say that the top tax rate that would maximize economic activity and government revenues is about 70 percent, something not seen since President Reagan's first year in office. Let's talk about how far towards that mathematically optimal rate we ought to move in order to reduce deficits without hurting growth.
But that conversation would require conservatives to recognize that progressives want to adjust, not overthrow, the American system of incentive-based market economics combined with social safety net spending. Instead, Steve King is ranting on the floor about how Democratic proposals to raise the top income tax rate from 35 percent to 39 percent or tack on a tiny surtax for millionaires are just more Marx-worshipping anti-capitalism.
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