Was it greed or envy or resentment? Or was all of it three that prompted simply over half the state to vote for the Query 1 tax hike on Nov. 8?
It couldn’t have been need of cash. Even because the voting happened, Massachusetts taxpayers had been/are getting tax refunds. These refunds are coming, courtesy of Residents for Restricted Taxation, as a result of Massachusetts had a tax surplus in 2021, and, in keeping with the legislation, overtaxed its residents.
Along with that, the state is awash in cash: This yr’s tax receipts are operating 5% forward of final yr, which ran 20% forward of the yr earlier than, which ran 15% forward of the yr earlier than that.
Voters knew all this, so one thing apart from a necessity for cash motivated the “sure” vote. Regardless of the advocates outspending the opposition 2:1, the vote was a detailed 52-48. The proponents claimed it was only a “millionaire” tax – implying that solely these routinely incomes extraordinary revenue of over $1 million would pay. However that’s not true. The surtax additionally applies to gross sales of small companies and houses.
I do know of a lady who enthusiastically voted for the tax hike. She thought it utilized solely to these with annual revenue over $1 million. Then she discovered that the million-dollar threshold additionally applies to the cash she’ll get when she sells considered one of her two homes. She was horrified and totally distraught.
Apparently, life was joyous when she voted to remove different individuals’s cash. (They’ve an excessive amount of anyway.) However her cash, effectively now, that’s a distinct matter fully.
The girl isn’t distinctive. Everyone knows individuals of comparable bent. They’re often not middle-income working of us; relatively they’re fairly well-off themselves. However they appear up resentfully at these they understand as higher off. They begrudge “wealthy” individuals their wealth and infrequently harbor a suspicion (unverified) that these riches had been considerably ill-gotten. “Wealthy” is vaguely outlined as anybody who has greater than they, and since all of us are likely to preserve the opposite man’s bankbook extra opulently than he does, it’s an outsized class.
Envy, resentment, greed. Democrats and their constituencies foster these baser instincts in selling identification politics and the politics of sophistication warfare. Democrats’ eleventh Commandment: “Resent and envy thy wealthier neighbors, and take what thou can from them.” (Democrats rank it greater than eleventh.) However keep in mind, all the time expropriate by authorized course of, so it’s technically not referred to as “theft.”
Then there are those that camouflage their dislike of the prosperous with advocacy of socialism. In pure socialism there isn’t any non-public property; every thing is owned by the state. So those that profess socialism can justify seizing others’ non-public property with out restrict and with out compunction. No envy or greed right here, they protest, they’re simply being devoutly socialistic.
There may be, after all, one other class of takers: those that are all the time feeding on the authorities trough. For them, the tax take is rarely massive sufficient, and so they discover it straightforward to vote different individuals’s cash for themselves.
The motion of those constituencies was manifest in locations which can be hotbeds of left-wing sentiment. Boston permitted the surtax with 65%. Cambridge delivered 75% approval; Somerville, 79%. On web, the remainder of the state voted towards the tax improve.
On this matter, Massachusetts lurched additional left than even ultra-liberal California. There, voters struck down Proposition 30 – to impose a 1.75% tax on annual incomes above $2 million. A nasty signal once we’re to the left of California.
Residents for Restricted Taxation (CLT) was based in 1975 to oppose the fourth graduated revenue tax proposal – defeated on the 1976 poll. CLT additionally defeated the fifth try in 1994. Now, regrettably, CLT is closing down. However the very best abstract quote for the 2022 consequence comes from CLT’s indefatigable govt director, Chip Ford: “I hope none of those that voted to finish the century-old flat revenue tax ever turns into profitable sufficient to remorse their choice.”
Avi Nelson is a Boston-based political analyst and talk-show host.