It surprises me how often great men—it is rarely women—fail to actually read or consider the actual sources of their thought as they roll through life.
For example there is a bit of a war splashing about relating to what Adam Smith had to say about taxation and other anti-capitalist tools.
The star of CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Kevin O’Leary, seems to feel Adam Smith was completely opposed to taxation because that is so anti-Capital.
Except it’s not true. Really not true. Smith was a strong supporter of taxation. All you have to do is read the opening chapter of the fifth book of the Wealth of Nations, the foundational textbook of capitalism. Smith seems very clear:
“The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor.
“They find it difficult to get food, and the greater part of their little revenue is spent in getting it. The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. A tax upon house-rents, therefore, would in general fall heaviest upon the rich; and in this sort of inequality there would not, perhaps, be anything very unreasonable.
“It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion”.
If bond traders would just read their own stuff a little more they could avoid a lot of wasted time… And we could avoid fights amongst stupid people. Time for a Wente column on taxation and Smith.