Sowell channels his inner Inigo Montoya

Fans of the Princess Bride will remember the Montoya character’s line: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Thomas Sowell‘s latest column subjects the words “spend” and “investment” to the Inigo Montoya treatment.

Anyone who wants to study the tricks of propaganda has a rich source of examples in the statements of President Barack Obama. On Monday, July 9, for example, he said that Republicans “believe that prosperity comes from the top down, so that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, that that will somehow unleash jobs and economic growth.”

Let us begin with the word “spend.” Is the government “spending” money on people whenever it does not tax them as much as it can? Such convoluted reasoning would never pass muster if the mainstream media were not so determined to see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil when it comes to Barack Obama.

Ironically, actual spending by the Obama administration for the benefit of its political allies, such as the teachers’ unions, is called not spending but “investment.” You can say anything if you have your own private language.

But let’s go back to the notion of “spending” money on “the wealthiest Americans.” The people he is talking about are not the wealthiest Americans. Income is not wealth — and the whole tax controversy is about income taxes. Wealth is what you have accumulated, and wealth is not taxed, except when you die and the government collects an inheritance tax from your heirs.

People over 65 years of age have far more wealth — but lower incomes — than people in their thirties and forties. If Obama wants to talk about raising income taxes, let him talk about it, but claiming that he wants to tax “the wealthiest Americans” is a lie and an emotional distraction for propaganda purposes.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

Reader Comments