Letter to Ted Rall

Dear Mr. Rall:

In your latest article you write that "[e]liminating last year's $1.5 trillion tax cut -- money that would have gone to rich people who won't miss it -- would pay off everyone's student loans for the next 50 years."

Sir, I am very curious how you actually know that these rich people will not miss the money they have to pay to the government. Surely, you do not fancy yourself the Holy Ghost with the power to see into men's souls? Your assertion is particularly odd, because usually people do miss things which they had but which were taken from them.

But let us see where this takes us. Suppose for the sake of argument that these rich will not actually miss their property. In that case why would they not give it to the government voluntarily? There are two possibilities. One is that they are simply too lazy (or forgetful) and will actually thank you for doing the hard work of relieving them of their goods, something which (you have to admit) is rather difficult to believe. Two is that they will give the money away to causes which you consider to be less important than those to which you yourself are partial. Again, you appear to believe yourself to be God who knows what is good and what is evil better than our blind and depraved rich.

Wait a minute! I do not wish to be unfair. Perhaps what you really mean is that "the rich will be harmed less than the poor will benefit". Indeed, think of how many poor students we can educate if one selfish and materialistic rich person, who is no doubt leading a life of vice, debauchery, and dissipation, is prevented from buying his third yacht! Once again I bow before your Godlike attributes. There is omniscience as you manipulate men in cold blood; you take from A and give to B and know that "total happiness," however defined, has been increased. There is perfect justice as the selfishness of the rich is punished, and there is overflowing love as the "meek" (the semi-barbarian teenagers? the welfare bums?) are elevated. There is supreme law-giving as you decree that it is Peter's duty to surrender a portion of his wealth or income to Paul. There is, finally, omnipotence, as you blithely tell the government what to do and expect it to obey.

Sir, your ego is staggering, as is your conceit. Have you considered starting your own religion?

Best regards,

Dmitry Chernikov

P.S. Has it occurred to you that "free" higher education will have to be paid by the very same students in the form of higher taxes later who now have to pay for it themselves? There is a limit to how much you can soak the rich.

February 12, 2003

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