Prosperity is the prey of government 20

High taxes do nothing for the prosperity of a nation. Never have, never will.

High-taxing governments immiserate the people.

Unless the lame-duck Democratic majority in Congress suddenly decides otherwise in the next few days, taxes will go up steeply next year.

And Thomas Paine is indignant about it.

Or put it this way: if Thomas Paine had written today this passage from part of his introduction to The Rights of Man, it would be just as apt as it was when it was first published some 220 years ago:

From the rapid progress which America makes in every species of improvement, it is rational to conclude that, if the governments of Asia, Africa, and Europe had begun on a principle similar to that of America, or had not been very early corrupted therefrom, those countries must by this time have been in a far superior condition to what they are. Age after age has passed away, for no other purpose than to behold their wretchedness. Could we suppose a spectator who knew nothing of the world, and who was put into it merely to make his observations, he would take a great part of the old world to be new, just struggling with the difficulties and hardships of an infant settlement. He could not suppose that the hordes of miserable poor with which old countries abound could be any other than those who had not yet had time to provide for themselves. Little would he think they were the consequence of what in such countries they call government.

If, from the more wretched parts of the old world, we look at those which are in an advanced stage of improvement we still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping the spoil of the multitude. Invention is continually exercised to furnish new pretences for revenue and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey, and permits none to escape without a tribute.