I HAVE a friend who owns a beach house and I don’t have one.

That’s not fair.

I have another friend who owns both a beach house and a mountain cabin and I don’t have either.

That’s really not fair. If those guys have beach houses and mountain cabins, I should have one, too.

Now I know my first friend worked long hours to earn enough money to buy his vacation home at the beach, but it is still not fair that he has a primary residence and a beach house and I don’t.

I know I didn’t want to work overtime to make extra money for a beach house, but that should not be held against me. It is not fair that my friend has two houses and I have only one.

As for my second friend, well, he worked hard for his mountain cabin, but his father left him his beach house. That’s right. He never had to work for the money to buy that home on the ocean. He just inherited it. That just isn’t right!

What I want is for the government to force my first friend to sell his beach house and pay half that money in taxes. Then Washington can give that tax money to me so I can make a down payment on a beach house.

Then I would like the government to force my other friend to sell his mountain cabin and give that money to me, too. That way I could have the beach house I have always wanted without having to work for it.

Don’t you think that would be fair? I mean, why should some people have two or three houses while others like me have only one? We have to cut these rich people down to size.

That, in a nutshell, is the premise of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s accumulated wealth tax proposal. Cut wealthy Americans down to size. Take more of their money and divide it among those who don’t have as much.

I’m beginning to wonder if Warren wears a green hat, carries a longbow and represents the constituents of Sherwood Forest. Take from the rich and give to the poor. Cut the sheriffs of Nottingham down to size.

In a nation that extols the virtues of capitalism, we seem to despise rich capitalists. We all want to become rich, but we hate and distrust those with great wealth. No one person should have “all that money.” Those dollars should be spread around.

We have to remember here that wealth is relevant. To a billionaire, a man with a primary residence, a beach house and a mountain cabin may appear poor. But to the man making $25,000 a year and paying rent, a person with three homes seems like a billionaire. Wealth is a matter of perspective.

Maybe I’m strange, but I’ve never been jealous of people who have more money than me. As long as they come by it legally, they can be as rich as they want. And so what if they inherited their dough? That’s their good fortune.

Why do we insist on taxing rich people to death? Between local, state and federal income taxes and real estate taxes, most of these people give over 50 percent of their income to the government. Now some want to tax them again with a wealth tax.

Yes, maybe some of these people use loopholes to lower their taxes. I promise you that I use every loophole I can find every tax season and so does everyone else. You can’t blame the wealthy for taking advantage of existing laws.

Remember, too, that the filthy rich don’t throw their money in a big bin like Scrooge McDuck. They pay for goods and services just like everyone else, only to a greater extent, so their money does get spread around and they pay all sorts of sales and other taxes.

I remember when the government bailed out the Chrysler Corp. decades ago and everyone was complaining that Chrysler, the company, didn’t pay any corporate income taxes. No, it didn’t, but every one of the tens of thousands of its employees did. If Chrysler had gone under, those people would have been out of work and living off the government instead of paying taxes.

Sorry, but I’m not in Elizabeth Warren’s court on this issue. I don’t begrudge wealthy people for having money and I don’t want to tax them to death.

I don’t favor Sherwood Forest economics, taking from the rich and giving to the poor simply for the sake of punishing the wealthy for being wealthy.

If you believe in capitalism, then abide by its rules.

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Columnist Donnie Johnston lives in Culpeper County. Write him at djohn40330@aol.com.

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