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Dinesh D

Poverty doesn’t need explanation, it’s the natural condition of man who has had to scratch a living out of the ground from time and memorial. The really interesting question is “What causes wealth?”

Wealth is the anomaly and has only been created in certain cultures and relatively recently in the grand sweep of history. So, to be poor, you don’t really have to do anything, you just pretty much stay where you are and you’ll be poor. It takes effort, initiative, creativity to get out of that and so it’s the cause of affluence which we should be focusing on [See: What causes an economy to prosper?].

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

Economies prosper because of the creativity, dynamism and hard work of the people in them. So ultimately, economies prosper because people are able to put their intelligence and their energy to work to fulfill their own needs and those of others. The most creative entrepreneurs not only meet, but anticipate the needs of other people and thus end up inventing things that didn’t exist before. The system which fosters this is what Adam Smith called the “system of natural liberty” and what today is called free market capitalism.

Free mark capitalism is not so much an ideology as it is simply a doctrine of limitation. It’s a doctrine of letting human creativity go, letting people devise and make and exchange stuff freely, the fundamental premise of which is called the morality of content (or contentment).

If I offer you a job and you freely take it, we’re both better off. I wouldn’t have offered the job and you wouldn’t have taken it if both of us weren’t better off by that transaction. So the corporation, for example, which refuses to hire someone, or the customer who refuses to buy something isn’t doing anyone an injustice. If I refuse to hire you, you’re no worse off than you were before and if you go into a store and you don’t want to buy some things, the store isn’t any worse off than it was before.

So there’s no way, in the structure of natural liberty, for oppression to take place by itself. The system can be distorted and people may work outside the system and call it oppression, but within it, as long as you respect rules of content, it’s a very moral system.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

If a minimum wage is set reasonably low it can be alright. It provides what could be described as a standard of comparison. The problem is that if you raise the minimum wage high enough, corporations may decide that it’s cheaper not to employ people or to employ fewer people, which means that it becomes difficult for new people to find a job. Certainly, you have younger people, for example, college students, who don’t have as much experience or knowledge and therefore have to price themselves lower in the market in order to be find employment. And so a minimum wage, in some ways helps the guys who are already employed, but hurts the guys who are looking for a job.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

The politician, Tipp O’Neill once compared the federal government to being big, fat and out of control. In contrast, the actual role of the government should be small, lean and in control, or under control. What this means is that we have limited government - limited government that has defined, enumerated functions, beyond which it should not operate.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain things which need to be done, but the question is whether it’s the role of the government to do them. For example, my neighbor’s child may be desperately in need of sex education, but it’s not my job to go provide it. The sex education should come from that child’s parents or possibly from the schools, but it’s not my job to provide sex education for my neighbor’s child.

So although there are things which need to be done, it doesn’t necessarily follow that it’s the federal government’s job to do them. So the role of the federal government should be limited to certain important duties, most notably, it is sworn to protect us from foreign and domestic threats, but apart from those enumerated functions, it should abstain.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

In economies there are private sector unions and public sector [government] unions. Public sector unions serve no useful purpose as far as I can see, and in fact there’s an inherent problem in even having these public sector unions. The reason for this is that normally, in the relationship, there is an employer who is protecting the interests of the company, in this case the shareholders, and a union who is fighting for the workers. Both sides have a kind of tug-of-war to find a reasonable compromise on workers’ wages while still preserving the profitability of the company.

The problem with the public sector union is that they are essentially bargaining with the politicians, who have a vested interest in giving into the unions which give them campaign contributions. Not only this, but the politicians aren’t parting with their own money, they’re actually parting with the taxpayers’ money.

So what you really end up with is a conspiracy of unions and politicians to rip off the taxpayer, which has been happening on a scandalous scale across the United States in recent history and is the reason so many states have approached fiscal crisis if not bankruptcy.

The private sector unions, on the other hand, have historically served a purpose. So I have no objection to collective bargaining in and of itself, but I do object to the sort of mafia style strong arm tactics that unions often use which sometimes reach such a point that they make the companies themselves unproductive.

A prime example is the way in which the unions in Detroit have dragged down the American auto companies. Japanese companies are making cars, not just in Japan, but also in non-union states, more cheaply and of better quality, which is the reason that Detroit has been having its problems.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

The wealthy in a society are the people who do two things:

The first is that they provide capital for new investments, new inventions and new products. So if you look, for example, at the computer, the first computers cost a lot of money, likewise the first cell phones. The wealthy at the time bought the computers for $7,000 and the cell phones for $2,500, which subsidized the research that then allowed Apple and other companies to now sell the cell phone for $49.95. So the prices of things come down, from cars to computers to cell phones because the rich are the initial purchasers, and that money then goes towards making this new technology more widely available and cheaper.}

Another function of the wealthy in an economy is that they are the people who hire the rest of us, so that most people who have a job are being employed by a wealthy guy or a wealthy group of guys under the name of a corporation.

The bottom line is that if you penalize the wealthy and have confiscatory taxation on them, you’re going to dry up or diminish both the capital that goes into the creation of newer and cheaper products and their ability to hire more people.

Ultimately, in my mind, the question is not about, for example, looking at Bill Gates who has something like $55 billion, deciding that he only needs $1 billion, and asking why we shouldn’t take the remaining $54 billion away. Rather the real question is if that $54 billion were to be taken away , who would be better to spend it? 535 guys in congress who didn’t do anything to earn that money, or Bill Gates himself? Who is more likely to be careful in spending the money and making sure that if it’s going to used philanthropically that it does a lot of good?

So then, it’s not simply a matter of whether it’s right to take the money, but it’s also a question of who’s money it is and who should have the say in deciding how that money is to benefit society.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

The most effective tax system is to choose a number, preferably a fairly low number in the range of 15%, and have people fill out their taxes on a postcard. They would list the amount of money that they earn, then calculate and send in 15%, and keep the balance.

It’s most effective for two main reasons:

The first reason is that it’s simple and so the paraphernalia of a lengthy tax process is avoided. There would be no forms, no deductions, no ways to dodge taxes and no need for accountants or attorneys. This method is so simple that anyone could do it.

The second reason is that it relies on the principle of proportional taxation, which means that the rich guy pays more, but he pays more at the same rate. If somebody makes $1,000 they would pay $150, if somebody makes $10,000, they would pay $1,500 and if someone makes $1,000,000, they would still pay 15%. The rich still would pay more, but they don’t pay a higher percentage, which I think appeals to an intuitive sense of fairness.

In addition, this flat rate percentage doesn’t have the distorting effect which a progressive rate does. For many people, if they’re taxed at a higher rate when they make more money, it makes sense not to work as hard, or to be as creative or to show as much initiative, because they’re not going to be rewarded for it. If earning more money will only push a person into a higher tax bracket where they end up paying more, in effect, they’re actually working for somebody else, in this case, the federal government.

So the flat tax of this kind is reasonable, fair, and simple and it probably will produce about the same amount of revenue as the government takes in now.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza

Dinesh D

You would like to think that in a world where everyone has a moral sense that it would be easy to find agreement on fundamental questions - certainly moral questions and possibly other questions, but the fact that we all have a moral voice within us doesn’t mean that we all want to listen to that voice.

At the starting point, you really have two groups of people: one group of people that wants to go according to morality, which is the voice within, and the other group of people which wrestles with their conscience and wins. In other words, they hear the voice but have some other goal, which is one reason that you have a breakdown right away.

A second reason is that even if people are listening to their moral voice, the moral voice says what’s right and wrong, but it doesn’t always say what’s right and wrong in the precise, given situation. So it’s possible to affirm principles like truthfulness, integrity, reliability and sincerity, but nevertheless to disagree when it comes to the application of those ideas.

Author, Commentator and President of The King's College, Dinesh D'Souza