Funny thing about Senator Warren’s asset-forfeiture scheme. Like many similar proposals, it probably would not raise much revenue and might in fact leave the country as a whole economically worse off. And the people advising Senator Warren on that are perfectly content with that outcome, because, as Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman argue in the case of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal to radically increase income taxes, this is to be understood not as an economic question but as a moral one: It is simply morally obligatory to hurt wealthy people. “The point of high top marginal income tax rates is to constrain the immoderate, and especially unmerited, accumulation of riches,” they write.
And who gets to decide what’s merited and what’s unmerited? What are the chances that, say, Senator Warren’s modest millions or her multimillion-dollar home are deemed “unmerited”? What decides, of course, is “unrestricted power based on force, not law,” because the law cannot substantially answer that kind of question but can only instead encode the desires of people with power, which is what Senator Warren is seeking more of.
Again, we have been here before.