“We ought to be increasing our taxes. We who have it ought to be paying a lot more, but should insist on efficiency in expenditure.”—Walter Cronkite
When Walter Cronkite was 89, he regretted having retired as the anchorman of CBS News. He wanted to be America’s “most trusted man” again. Cronkite was a socialist. Of course, you knew that, but let’s let “Uncle Walter” tell you himself. The September-October 1998 issue of Modern Maturity magazine ran a lengthy interview with the former war correspondent and CBS news anchor. And what does Modern Maturity think of Cronkite’s views?: “In an era of skepticism, we need an anchor of truth, confidence, and trust in our lives. We need someone who can tell it like it is. We need Walter Cronkite.” No we don’t. Cronkite believed that our taxes should be increasing! He laments that there is a “chasm between the income of teachers and the income of athletes and entertainers and anchorpeople.” He calls it “sinful” and “a public disgrace.” Do you think Walter Cronkite ever turned down a pay raise or a speaking fee? How much was he making at CBS when he retired? If he was so concerned about making too much money, then why didn’t he give it all away long before he died and started living in a trailer?
Even though some people make hundreds of millions of dollars, keep in mind that their work creates much more revenue for millions of other workers—from the script writer to the lowly movie theater usher who makes minimum wage as he learns the fundamentals of a job to gain experience for his next work experience. Software king Bill Gates is a billionaire. His company Microsoft gives direct and indirect employment to millions of people. Strip the profit incentive and the freedom to create by forcing these entrepreneurs to pay a punitive tax, and companies like Microsoft and Intel would shrivel up and die. The ripple effect throughout the economy would be disastrous.
What’s true of the mega-stars and the corporate CEOs is also true of the 9 to 5 worker who’s just trying to make a living. Working productively gets frustrating when nearly 50% of your income is lost in taxes. Remember, the federal income tax is only one tax among many—from gasoline taxes and excise taxes, to hotel and entertainment taxes.
Cronkite’s mantra is, “Given enough money, government can do it better!” Millions of people making billions of economic decisions each day can do a much better job than a handful of government bureaucrats who know little about markets and nothing about entrepreneurship. Government agencies are not under the market rule of “The customer is always right” since there is no competition. If you don’t like what the Social Security Administration does, tough luck, it’s the only game in town. While there are a small number of economic disparities in the free market, there are millions of disparities when governments control the economy and bleed productive workers dry.
Walter Cronkite won’t be missed by me. His socialistic, blame America first rhetoric has weakened America, and unfortunately, there are many more like him in newsrooms across the country who cheer on the most socialist president America has ever had.