Allen West Uses Ben-Hur to Vaguely Defend Regressive Tax Plan

Categories: WTFlorida
​If you were wondering, Congressman Allen West supports the flat tax. If you want to know why, though, it has, ah, something to do with Charlton Heston.

West posted a video of himself speaking on the House floor last week under the title, "Why the Flat Tax Works." It's a curious title, because he doesn't explain why anything works in the video -- he said that "we hear a lot of talk today about fairness and fair share and economic equality and shared sacrifice" and then went on to explain how it was so unfair that people who make a ton of money should pay a larger share of federal income taxes. I sympathize.  

He then goes into why he thinks the flat tax is a good idea. This is where Heston comes in.

"It kind of reminds me, my dear colleagues, of that movie Ben-Hur," West said. "The commander came down, and he said very simply, 'Row well and live, 41,' and, of course, we remember that beating 'bah, dun, dah dunnn dun.' Well, what happens on that Roman galley if only 25 percent is rowing? That's the situation that we have here in the United States of America."

It's not entirely clear what the actual situation is that he's referring to, but it seems "rowing" is a metaphor for "paying federal income taxes," and he wants everyone to be rowing, even if they've got skinny little arms that make it impossible to row because they don't have the disposable income of the 1 percent that West defends so loyally.

The faults of a flat tax are simple -- wealthy people can afford to ship off 15 percent of their income far more easily than someone working at Chili's for ten bucks an hour. Chili's waiter spends a far higher percentage of his income on things he actually needs. But the video is "Why the Flat Tax Works," so maybe we'll get to it...

"You will never get to ramming speed, we will never fully recover this economy so that we can have the capital that is necessary out there so that Americans can be able to pay for these exorbitant gas prices," he added.

Ah -- we need a regressive tax in the name of fairness and being able to afford gasoline.

And that's pretty much the whole video -- it's included at the end if you're interested, but there isn't any explanation of "why," no explanation of how he wants to cut taxes for "job creators" at the expense of lower-income Americans, and no indication he either understands the issues of income inequality or cares about them.

The rowing analogy is an echo of statements West made in January at the King's Academy, a West Palm Beach private school.

"Forty-seven percent of wage-earning households pay no federal income taxes. So basically 53 percent of this nation is pulling the wagon," he said. "Now, when that gets to be 50-50, when you have almost an equality between producers and people who are consumers, or entitlement, then you're going to have a serious issue."

That's all he says about it. Fifty percent is the magic number, and when as many people are giving as taking, there's a "serious issue," even though a Congressional Budget Office analysis found that, between 2005 and 2007, the top 20 percent of earners made more than the remaining 80 percent combined. That report also found that, while the middle 60 percent of wage earners saw their income grow by around 40 percent between 1979 and 2007, the top 1 percent saw their income grow by 275 percent -- drawing the line down the middle isn't fair, because the graph of income equality isn't a gentle slope; it's a hockey stick.

And bringing entitlements into the fray is a red herring -- even those who don't pay federal income taxes get payroll taxes taken out for Social Security and Medicare.

West might support the flat tax, but if he understands why beyond some concept of boat rowing, he hasn't gotten around to explaining it to the rest of us.

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Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

They'll get an intelligence test on November 6th. Let's see if they pass. Say No to West.


It really is quite simple but never underestimate the stupid ones. It is not the individuals who are getting taxed in the current system. It is the $$$$$ that are being taxed. It seems that the "overburdened" wealthy ones believe in a democratic process only when it saves their spoils. The rest of the time we can go fornicate ourselves, in their perfect universe. One can always count on West to expose the scam in his futile attempt to defend the scam.


When 2% of the citizens pay 50% of the taxes and 50% of them pay NOTHING then the 50% who pay zip, elect weasels who give them ever more funds that they did not earn.  And the 2% grow resentful and spend ever larger amounts of time and money finding ways not to pay the unfair taxes.

Giving people money that they did not earn does not make them grateful, well off or able to support themselves.  This is a concept that liberals can not and will not grasp, as they think everybody but themselves is a child and must be given whatever they whine for.

West is right.  Liberals are fools.

BTW, most people with money work very hard for it.  And most poor people are either young and hope to be rich or old and have money in property, but not income or decided to consume every dime they made or done want to work hard or take risks.  Most rich people work very hard or took great risks or failed multiple times before they got it right or happened to be very lucky one time.  None of the rich got wealthy by being a thief or oppressing anybody.

Liberals are merely thieves who want to steal money and give it away to snivelers because that either gets them votes or makes them feel better about themselves.  That makes them evil, as money must be earned with sweat and risk.  And those things aren't free.

Pete Pepper
Pete Pepper

So in other words, the criminal West wants to make sure his rich buddies pay no tax at all while the rest of us who have issues buying gas, food, or shelter, get to pay more money we do not have to support him.Flat tax does not work because when the rich get a tax cut, they just send their money off so it cannot be taxed at all.  The nation then just withers on the vine since all the rest of us just cannot afford to pay for anything anymore.Seriously, all these people who keep calling for a flat tax just really want things to descend into chaos just so they can grab yet more power.

Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Seriously, does anyone expect goofball West to understand anything of a serious nature in American civilian life? Why should he? West's never been a civilian. Send him to the front in Afghanistan, where he belongs.


 I guess you also think that the Koch Brothers and most of the Walton family should stop buying our elected officials with their money...

...because they didn't earn it. They inherited it.

"most people with money work very hard for it"




Lifelong Dem
Lifelong Dem

Just say no to ALIEN West. Anything he proposes or supports, be against it. The clown is an ignorant stooge for Karl Rove and the Koch brothers. West can't even get along with his own party leadership. He's a loose cannon on deck, and a disgrace to whatever district he carpetbags into. Say No to West!


 The murdering soldier, who just moonlighted in Afghanistan has not as yet been identified. Could it be, might it be, our congressional leader on a field trip?


So only unfairly tax those who inherit wealth.  Never mind inherited funds were taxed first to the corporation, second as dividends and third in the inheritance tax.  NOBODY but liberals should be able to give money to their children.

Sadly for you thieving liberal jihadists, damn near everybody with wealth EARNED it.   

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