Democrats, Hysteria, and 'Threats to Democracy'

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Remember when Democrats were more rational, at least in comparison to today’s Democrats? Senator Zell Miller was the last of the old Blue Dogs, having been both Governor of Georgia and a Senator from that State. New York’s Daniel Patrick Moynihan, while a committed liberal, was at least intelligent, well-spoken, and not subject to flights of fancy.


Whereas now, with what the modern Democrat Party considers its up-and-comers, there is a certain hysteria based on their damning everything counter to the “progressive” agenda as a threat to democracy.

When a handful of Democrats introduced a bill to impose a progressive wealth tax on millionaires and billionaires, they didn’t just say that income inequality was bad. They called it a threat to democracy. Apparently, anything and everything the left doesn’t like is now a threat to democracy.

Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Barbara Lee, Summer Lee, and Jamaal Bowman – four of the most far-left lawmakers in Congress – introduced the OLIGARCH Act (we won’t bother spelling out the acronym) to “tax extreme wealth, reduce inequality, and combat the threat to democracy posed by billionaires.”

“The bill ensures accountability and is an effort to restore democracy,” the press release states.

Tlaib says “billionaires are threatening our democracy.” Not to be outdone, Barbara Lee calls them a “major threat to democracy.”

It’s unclear how billionaires are threatening our democracy, although the chair of something called Patriotic Millionaires seems to agree with the Squad members.

Morris Pearl, chairman of the Patriotic Millionaires, which backs this bill, insists that “without decisive action, this vicious cycle of concentrated power and money will dismantle our system of democratic capitalism, and with it, our way of life.”

Their solution is to impose an entirely new wealth tax, starting at 2% and climbing to 8%, on anyone who has a net wealth of more than $140 million.


There’s a lot to unpack just in those brief statements.

First, the constitutional issues: To put it simply, Congress can’t do this. Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution states:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States…

The 16th Amendment allows for the imposition of an income tax that is not uniform throughout the states – that is, a tax on income, not unrealized wealth or indeed wealth of any kind. Read a more detailed discussion of this issue here.

The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

It speaks volumes of the Squad members that they apparently neither know, nor care, nor even understand the Constitution. The Supreme Court will likely be ruling on a related issue, that of taxing unrealized income, in Moore v. the United States; read an analysis of that here.

Second, the United States is not and never has been a democracy. This shouldn’t be laid only at the feet of leftists; plenty of Republicans also carelessly use the term “democracy” when talking about the United States. One could, and some do, argue that a constitutional republic, which is what the U.S., in fact, is, is a type of democratic government, but even if we accept that – and that’s a doubtful claim – precision in language in some matters is important. The United States is a constitutional republic with some democratic institutions, like the House of Representatives, and some distinctly non-democratic institutions, like the Senate, whose (original, pre-17th Amendment) purpose was to represent the state legislatures, with each state having equal representation in the Senate regardless of population.


Again, the Squad members and their increasingly unhinged supporters neither know nor care nor even understand the history of representative governments, the history of this nation’s founding, or even the language of our defining documents, in which the term “democracy” is not found.

Third and finally, there appears to be no explanation of precisely how the existence of successful people is a “threat to democracy.” Nobody has asked any of the Squad members to explain this; to explain precisely how the existence of wealthy people threatens the Republic, in what way, by what means, or anything else; their hysterical utterances are generally given a pass by the legacy media. But not by everyone, especially in this new, vibrant alternative media, in which, unlike the old legacy media, common sense and knowledge of basic civics are not unknown.


None of these things is a threat to democracy. The left is using this claim to stifle debate. That way, the discussion is no longer about, say, tax reform, or gun control, or free speech, it’s about the future of democracy. And who would want to be against democracy?

The next time some politician starts blathering on about “threats to democracy,” take a moment to remind them that we, thankfully, don’t live in a democracy. We live in a constitutional republic. And the real threats to our republic are coming from those on the left who want to tear up the Constitution in the name of democracy.


This sums things up very well. The Squad and their supporter’s hysterical statements about “threats to our democracy” are of a kind with their shrieks of “racism,” or “homophobia,” or any of the various terms they throw out like a six-year-old shouts “doody-head.” These statements should be ignored. These are not serious people.


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