IBD EditorialsPosted 04/04/2013 06:55 PM ET
Ruling Class: Socialism is in theory a system of government that brings equality to society. But the reality is far different. As George Orwell once noted, some members of a socialist society are always more equal than the others.
The socialist government of France is enduring a juicy scandal this week. It seems recently resigned budget minister Jerome Cahuzac has admitted to a Swiss bank account holding about 600,000 euros. This shouldn't be a big deal. But it is, because:
• Cahuzac was "until two weeks ago responsible for cracking down on tax evasion," reports France 24 International News, and his Swiss account was part of his scheme "to avoid paying taxes in France."
• No one in a socialist society is supposed to be better off than his fellow man. Only dirty capitalists use foreign banks to enrich themselves.
• Under socialism, taxes are embraced, not avoided.
To the socialist, wealth is contemptible — except when socialist leaders are rich. For reasons we don't understand, it was fine for Venezuelan despot Hugo Chavez to die with a net worth of $1 billion, while the country's per-capita GDP languished at 96th in the world, according to the CIA World Factbook.
Same with taxes. As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds says, taxes are for the little people. Big shots such as Cahuzac don't need to pay them. Think Chavez ever paid taxes? The Castro brothers? Daniel Ortega?
We are tempted to think that the soft socialists of Europe might be more self-conscious about paying their taxes even as they push for more onerous tax regimes. But now we have the example of Cahuzac, don't we? So we can't say that with any confidence.
This hypocrisy is found in the U.S., as well.
We don't have a working socialist party in this country, but the "progressive" Democrats are doing quite well at holding up the standard. So we ask: Who among Democratic lawmakers and party leadership is in middle-class solidarity with the working man?
And which big mouth of the Hollywood left, who votes Democrat and pretends he or she believes in equality, actually exercises it?
They all inveigh against capitalism. And all have made it work for them in their personal lives.
But the real shame of Cahuzac's fall is his groveling. He has begged for forgiveness from his "former colleagues in government" for the "damage" he caused them. We'd have more respect for him if he openly defended his wealth and capitalistic efforts, rather than cravenly apologizing for owning something.