When a businessman was asked by a customer how many hours a week he worked, he thought for a moment, but instead of answering, he asked the customer a question of his own first.

He wanted to know if the customer was a parent. When the customer said that yes, they were indeed a parent, the businessman then asked how many hours a week they were a parent.

It turns out the answer to both of their questions was “All of them.”

Say you had a problem to solve. Maybe you needed to improve a solar panel or invent a new way to store the energy in batteries. Or maybe develop a new gene therapy. Something like that.

Next, you were given a choice as to how to get the job done in the most efficient way possible. Would you give the problem to an American businessman/businesswoman or some agency in our government?

I’m guessing you’re not going to pick the government.

I’ve been listening to Democratic candidates Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders tell us in detail how they’re going to take money from people who have made their fortune solving problems and give it to the government to solve problems.

This bothers me.

I’ve no problem closing tax loopholes, eliminating offshore hiding places, or even raising the tax rates a few points. All of that is fine with me.

What isn’t fine is telling someone “Hey, it’s okay for you to earn a buck, just don’t earn too much.”

See what I mean?

People think billionaires have billions of dollars. They do not. They have shares of the company they started, by working all of the hours there are in a week, that are worth billions of dollars.

And if Sanders or Warren have their way, those folks will be required to sell off pieces of their company to satisfy the new wealth tax.

Let me give you an example.

Say you invent a new way to produce microchips. You start a company, sell shares to raise money for research, and eventually your hard work pays off. You now own 51% of a company that’s worth $10 billion. Which means you’re worth $5.1 billion.

In shares, not money.

You still have controlling interest of the company as the majority shareholder, and all of the ideas you had that led to your success you can still work on as the boss.

Under either candidate’s tax plan you would owe 7% on what your shares of your company are worth. Not your pay, but your worth.

Which means you’d have to sell a portion of the company that you started to pay that tax

Which means that all of a sudden you would no longer control your own company because the government was effectively taking it from you through taxes.

This bothers me greatly.

My experience is if you give the government a dollar to solve a problem, it will spend two dollars on office space and payroll.

So I have an idea. Instead of telling folks that are really good at solving problems that they have to pay for a problem that’s not of their making, why not ask them to come up with a way to solve the problem?

Pete Mitchell’s “In America” column appears every other Monday. He lives in Geneva and can be reached at peteinamerica@yahoo.com.

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