To The Daily Sun,
We hear a lot these days, especially in the mainstream media, about progressive this or progressive that — a progressive politician and/or a progressive idea. But what does the term “progressive” really mean? How about some examples.
For many years it has been common to refer to our beloved federal income tax system as being a “progressive” tax. In practice, this means that rather than a flat tax that imposes a tax of a fixed percentage tax on everyone regardless of their level of income (e.g. “everyone pays 10 percent of their income in taxes”), under our so-called “progressive” income tax scheme, the more taxable income a person reports, the higher the rate of tax on the last or next dollar earned. So, the more productive a person, the more the federal government taxes them in order to fund, in large measure, so-called “transfer payments,” namely welfare and social programs and many other activities that are really not the proper role of government at all. As Karl Marx wrote, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
In modern political parlance, being a progressive means, in essence, that you are for the government involving itself in, and intruding into, every nook and cranny of everyone’s personal and business life, including: eliminating airplanes and other fossil fuel usage; eliminating all health insurance except that provided by the government (e.g. Medicare for all); free college tuition for all; free contraceptives and abortions regardless of religious beliefs; banning plastic drinking straws and grocery bags; taxing sugary drinks; taxing and/or banning disposable food containers; making it as difficult as possible for parents to home-school their children or to send them to parochial schools; and on and on. The emphasis must be on using the force of government to attempt to attain equal outcomes, not merely providing equal opportunities.
Rather than bandying about the term “progressive” so much, I suggest that we bring back into more common usage the term “repressive.” As in let’s repress individual freedoms, individual initiative, free enterprise, market-based economics, individual responsibility, personal liberty and rights, and patriotism. The term repressive seems to fit so much better in reality- whether for politicians or for their wacky and dangerous ideas.
Norman J. Silber