Regunberg’s Warning to Rhode Island

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

One thing that’s refreshing about our political moment is how un-self-conscious the Left has become.  Take the Head-Shot Agenda of the progressives in the Rhode Island House.  A group of legislators has gotten in line behind the 28-year-old Ivy League candidate for lieutenant governor whose biography contains no mention of any experience working a real job.*  At least his inexperience gives him the confidence to let us know exactly what he thinks.

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Consider the changes to his remarks.  From the General Assembly press release about the “agenda” (emphasis added):

Big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent just got a giant tax cut from Republicans in Congress. We’re committed to using state policy to tilt the scales back toward everyday people.

But for what he really thinks, turn to the Providence Journal, quoting from “an advance copy of his remarks”:

Just this year, big corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent used their influence to get an enormous tax handout from Republicans in Congress. In Rhode Island, we can use our power to tilt the scales back towards people who are dealing with real problems.

This is divisive far-leftism clearly displayed.  In the press release, perhaps edited by more-experienced hands, Congressional Republicans have given corporations and the wealthy a “cut.”  This sounds like simple American politics.  But in Regunberg’s telling, the corporations and wealthy are villains.  They bullied the politicians into it through “their influence”; the tax cut goes from “giant” to “enormous”; and what they got wasn’t a reduction in the amount of their own money that the government confiscates, but a “handout.”  If only Regunberg would be so honest as to tell us whose money he thinks it is.

Regunberg subsequently builds on that class warfare.  The anodyne “everyday people” from the press release becomes “people who are dealing with real problems,” because obviously people who run corporations or who are already wealthy have no “real problems.”  They have no sick children.  They have no worries.  They’re not concerned about their employees (at least not as much as Aaron Regunberg is).  When they get their handouts, presumably, they do nothing with it but make their paradise a little more plush.  (I look forward to seeing Rhode Island’s journalists challenge his remark with evidence of pay raises and bonuses going directly to employees after the tax cut.)

Most important, though, is the shift in what Regunberg is selling.  In the press release, it’s “state policy.”  When he’s let loose, it’s “our power.”  That’s what he wants:  power.  Recently graduated from college, just barely old enough to have a drink with those “everyday people,” Regunberg wants the power to take other people’s money away and tell them what to do.

Rhode Islanders have been warned.

* This post originally put Regunberg’s age at 22.  I could have sworn I’d seen his birth year reported as 1996 when I checked as writing this, but it’s 1990.  So, he’s older than initially stated; readers can determine whether that improves their impression of his experience or makes his lack of reporting a real job more problematic.



  • BasicCaruso

    “If only Regunberg would be so honest as to tell us whose money he thinks it is.”

    Um, is it the same folks secretly financing your position at RICFP? Yes, I know, totally unrelated that you reflexively support the position of wealthy corporate interests over working Rhode Island taxpayers (ka-ching!).

    • Justin Katz

      When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

      • BasicCaruso

        No surprise that you side with your corporate financiers, but Jefferson warned of dangers of creating an artificial aristocracy of wealth, “founded on banking institutions and monied in corporations” and “riding and ruling over the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry.”

        You disagree with Jefferson?

        • Justin Katz

          When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

          • BasicCaruso

            You’ve convinced me. Anarchy now!

            Jefferson remained unconvinced…

            “Many of the opposition [to the new Federal Constitution] wish to take from Congress the power of internal taxation. Calculation has convinced me that this would be very mischievous.”
            –Thomas Jefferson to William Carmichael, 1788.

          • Justin Katz

            When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

          • BasicCaruso

            Try not paying your taxes this spring and find out. Me, I’m with Jefferson on that one…

            “I am conscious that an equal division of property is impracticable. But the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind.”
            –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785

          • Justin Katz

            When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

          • BasicCaruso

            Hey, shouldn’t one of you Russians be monitoring the Justin bot? Appears to be stuck in a loop.

            Meanwhile back in the States…

            “I hope we shall … crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
            — Thomas Jefferson

            Do you agree with Jefferson or your wealthy benefactors?

          • Justin Katz

            When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

          • BasicCaruso

            You seem to be confused about the difference between opposing “taxation without representation” and more generally opposing representative government’s ability to tax. No surprise, given your genuflection to the undemocratic corporate powers. The argument you make is a weak one, only made weaker by repetition.

            Again, I’ll defer to Jefferson…
            “Where the law of the majority ceases to be acknowledged, there government ends, the law of the strongest takes its place, and life and property are his who can take them.”
            –Thomas Jefferson, 1809

            No doubt the wealthy have much to fear from what Jefferson called “the plundered ploughman and beggared yeomanry” and what Regunberg called “everyday people”. Which side are you on?

          • Justin Katz

            When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

          • BasicCaruso

            Yes, better to set up and knock down the same strawman over and over than to address the actual issue. “Mistaking the point,” indeed.

            “The Remissness of our People in Paying Taxes is highly blameable; the Unwillingness to pay them is still more so. I see, in some Resolutions of Town Meetings, a Remonstrance against giving Congress a Power to take, as they call it, the People’s Money out of their Pockets, tho’ only to pay the Interest and Principal of Debts duly contracted. They seem to mistake the Point. Money, justly due from the People, is their Creditors’ Money, and no longer the Money of the People, who, if they withold it, should be compell’d to pay by some Law…

            He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”
            — Benjamin Franklin, 1873

          • Justin Katz

            You quoted my wondering aloud to whom Regunberg believes people’s income belongs. There is no use debating the matter with somebody who won’t lay out his premises, so as a simple question providing the basis for continued discussion, I ask: When people earn money, to whom does it belong?

            You seem not to want to answer this simple question.

          • BasicCaruso

            You do not own the money you owe in taxes. Just as if a carpenter does work on my home, I do not legitimately “own” the money owed for that debt. Founders were crystal clear on that one. Money justly due is the creditor’s money.

          • Justin Katz

            But you cannot justly hire a carpenter if you don’t own the money to pay him. Similarly, your ability to enter into debt to a creditor presupposes your ownership of the resources to pay the bill. You don’t “own” the money owed for debt because you already spent it in advance; except for the physical quality of cash, committing to pay and then refusing to do so is akin to paying for a good and then grabbing your money out of the cash register.

            So are you saying:

            1. The person who owes the taxes in an important sense owned his or her income and was therefore duly authorized to commit it to taxes, or
            2. Government’s ownership of a person’s income transcends his or her earning of that money?

          • BasicCaruso

            Yes, quite convoluted the logic necessary to believe the government doesn’t truly own the money paid to it in taxes. Rather than ask me, I suggest you read Franklin or Jefferson on the subject. Call it divisive leftism if you like…

            “Whenever there is in any country, uncultivated lands and unemployed poor, it is clear that the laws of property have been so far extended as to violate natural right. The earth is given as a common stock for man to labour and live on. If, for the encouragement of industry we allow it to be appropriated, we must take care that other employment be furnished to those excluded from the appropriation. If we do not the fundamental right to labour the earth returns to the unemployed.”
            — Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1785

          • Justin Katz

            Darn. We were actually on our way to exchanging ideas, and then you start skipping intellectual steps to scuttle the thread. I didn’t claim that government doesn’t own the money paid to it in taxes (past tense). I argued that people must own the money that they earn prior to its transfer to government through taxes.

            Do you disagree with this sequence of ownership?

            Throwing in Jefferson’s thoughts on arable land doesn’t do much to clarify the ownership of earned income.

          • BasicCaruso

            Of course by that logic, the money paid to you is someone else’s money because they earned it before paying you. I guess you have me there.

            Me, I’m with Franklin… “They seem to mistake the Point”, indeed.

          • Justin Katz

            And now we’re back to your usual mode of argumentation. Exactly as my prior comment, the money paid to me was somebody else’s before they paid it to me.

            Do you disagree with this sequence of ownership?

          • BasicCaruso

            I agreed with that right off the bat! Whose money is it? The same people secretly paying you. No disagreement whatsoever.

            “Um, is it the same folks secretly financing your position at RICFP?”

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