What does it mean to make an investment? It’s pretty straightforward. It’s money that you put into something in hopes of getting a return on it in the future. If I choose to invest $10,000 in XYZ Co., that’s an investment. If someone takes my money by threat of force and spends in on XYZ Co., that’s theft. Some politicians don’t know the difference.
As I expected, the City Council in my suburb raised our sales tax to 10 percent earlier this week. I talked about it when it was first proposed and then when the City Council held a public hearing about it, so I don’t have a lot new to say about it. But something the City Council president said at the vote in favor of the tax irritated me:
Council President Wayne Taylor said the increase is “about reinvesting in the community we all love.”
This is pure arrogance and stupidity. It’s using words that have a clear and definite meaning to cover up what’s really going on. The politician is using force to take money from people in order to spend it the way he wants to spend it. It’s no different than the Mob taking money from people through coercion and then buying businesses with the cash. It’s theft, regardless what the thief does with the money.
This “investment” nonsense is all over politics today. George W. Bush did it, but Barack Obama has taken it to new heights. If you saw his “state of the Union” speech this past January, you heard the word “investment” over and over. The government doesn’t “spend” money any more. It “invests.” Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal had an excellent article analyzing this incredible misuse of the word by Obama. (If you’re not a WSJ subscriber, you’ll find the text of the article here.)
Investment is a voluntary decision. Government taking money from you to spend is not voluntary. To call it “investment” is a lie. Whether you call it government or organized crime, it’s just the same. It’s theft, and it’s a moral issue.