Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit blogger, is often sensible, always indispensable.
But his idea for slowing “the revolving door between government and business” would encourage government to do more of the bad things freedom lovers loathe.
Glenn says: “Political appointees in the executive branch should pay an extra income tax when they leave for high-paying jobs.” He wants a surtax of 50 to 75 percent, for five years, on all income greater than what the victims of the surtax had earned as government officials.
Even if lobbying were the biggest cause of outsized government — dubious — expanding government’s ability to impose strangling taxation ain’t the answer.
The tax would, first of all, be unjust in itself, among other things treating persons unequally under the law. It would massively penalize select taxpayers simply for having worked at a certain level in a certain branch of government. Penalize them not only for unapproved-but-legal conduct (lobbying), but for unapproved-but-legal conduct in which they might engage.
The tax would also be a horrific precedent. For one thing, why apply it only to executive appointees and not also lawmakers, judges, the president?
Indeed, such a tax would foster the notion that it’s okay to confiscatorily target the income of members of any group, not just former government officials, in hopes of preventing other disapproved-but-legal conduct. After all, lawmakers wouldn’t be calling up Instapundit to get approval of the next proposed application of his idea.
Back to the drawing board, Glenn.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.