1896 Economist Foresaw Peril of Income Redistribution

1896 Economist Foresaw Peril of Income Redistribution

By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist

Reprinted from September 2, 2009 Current Newspaper of Atlantic County
(Source – http://www.shorenewstoday.com/news.php?id=3945)
Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, explained back in 1896, why our country is in trouble today. This is from his book ?Lessons on Political Economics?:

?Suppose that in a country of thirty million people, someone proposes a new law that would tax each citizen one dollar a year, and give that money to 30 selected families. Every year, each of the thirty million taxpayers would lose one dollar, while 30 selected families would each gain a million. The two groups would react very differently to this proposal.

?The 30 families who would become millionaires would not rest by day or night. They would pay newspapers to support the new law, and drum up support from all quarters. They would give money to ?friendly? politicians.

?On the other hand, the thirty million other citizens would be much less active. A great deal of money is needed for an election campaign. It is impossible to collect a few cents from millions of taxpayers. A few people would have to make substantial contributions. But who would pay more money to stop a corrupt law, than he would pay if the law were passed?

“When election day comes, similar difficulties arise. The 30 would-be millionaires would put campaign workers in every district to persuade voters that their modest plan is not only good and necessary, but patriotic as well! If necessary, they would lay out cash to get the votes needed. . .

“In contrast, the voter who would lose only one dollar a year – even if he knows what is happening – would not bother to give up a picnic in the country, annoy useful or congenial friends, or get on the wrong side of government officials. The outcome is never in doubt ? the 30 families who would get the $30 million dollars would win hands down!??


These schemes were very rare in America when Pareto wrote his book in 1896. Back then, most Americans demanded nothing from their government but freedom, and they paid almost nothing in taxes. Yet we enjoyed far more wealth, and volunteered more of our time and money to charity than any other people in history.

Our state and federal constitutions, were taken seriously, so it was hard for politicians to make or break private businesses. Americans often made great personal sacrifices to defend ?liberty and justice for all?. We were taught since childhood of how 300,000 mostly white Americans died to free blacks from slavery.

But America is now very much like the sick democracies of Europe in which Pareto lived. In less than a year, our government spent roughly $2 trillion to bail out private businesses, and signed contracts to spend $25 billion more.

Although this was nothing but a giant robbery that destroyed the savings and retirement plans of most Americans to enrich a handful, it was praised by all the TV networks, newspapers, financial ?experts?, and Republican and Democrat ?leaders? ? just as Pareto predicted.

Pareto?s model also sheds light on the ?public service? of Ted Kennedy and his family. In the past, men of great wealth, like billionaire steelmaker Andrew Carnegie, gave away their fortunes to help the poor. Carnegie built free libraries.

But ?helping the poor? gave the Kennedys more wealth and power than ever! How? The Kennedy tax-exempt ?charities? advanced the political careers of family members, who used their political power to fund those ?charities? with government grants and ?donations? from big corporations who wanted favors.

The well-funded Kennedy ?charities? also gave high paying jobs, and generous travel allowances to the dozens of Kennedy children and grandchildren. This avoided the estate and inheritance taxes that limited inherited wealth in other families.

The most successful private business owned by the Kennedys was a giant commercial real estate project in Chicago, home of the Barack Obama political machine.

When the Titanic sank, 1,600 people drowned because they never got in the lifeboats. They believed their ship was too big and hi-tech to sink ? until it was too late.

Will you do nothing and wait for the crooks who destroyed our country for 40 years to suddenly stop on their own? Or will you help us?

I personally invite you to support Liberty and Prosperity this Monday, Labor Day, from 5PM to 7PM at our annual fundraiser. The location is Caroline?s Restaurant and Bar, Maryland and Bay Avenues in Somers Point. Tickets are $20 for one, $25 per couple, and include a buffet. Call me at 609-927-7333 for details.
For more information, visit www.libertyandprosperity.org or contact Somers Point attorney Seth Grossman at grossman@snip.net. Hear him on 92.1 FM radio Saturdays from 8AM to 9AM. Join the breakfast discussions Saturdays from 9:30AM to 10:30 AM at the Athena Diner in Northfield, and Pegasus Diner in Malaga.

  • Seth Grossman

    Seth Grossman is executive director of Liberty And Prosperity, which he co-founded in 2003. It promotes American liberty and limited constitutional government through weekly radio and in-person discussions, its website, email newsletters and various events. Seth Grossman is also a general practice lawyer.

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2 thoughts on “1896 Economist Foresaw Peril of Income Redistribution”

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