Letter To The Editor: Pleasure To Acknowledge Arrival Of Richard Skolnik As Columnist In Los Alamos Daily Post

Los Alamos

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the arrival of Richard Skolnik as a welcome partner to John Bartlit in the Los Alamos Daily Post: I now recognize at least two presenters of lucid, thoughtful, knowledgeable and complete analyses. I would like to add a few cents worth relevant to Bartlit’s column.

Adam Smith explained the biblical invocation against theft as follows: “Wealth is created by moving assets from lower valued to higher valued uses.” How is that an explanation? Theft moves assets from higher valued to lower valued uses: Stolen merchandise is almost always sold for less than the value it had originally. This increases poverty overall even if not for the thief.

Many decry taxes as government sanctioned theft, but as Bartlit points out, that pecuniary asset is moved — in good governments, which I acknowledge are not always the case — to higher valued uses: laws, regulations and oversight that protect all of us in our daily activities: health and medicine, food, environment and safety in finance and devices. (Steven Pinker makes a very similar statement in his book, ‘Enlightenment Now’.) As the saying goes, to protect the country from all enemies, foreign and domestic. Thus, our paying our taxes actually enriches us.

I have less to add to Skolnik’s piece, except to wonder why we have not yet seen ‘Uncle Sam’ demanding that we do our patriotic duty to protect our fellow Americans from a ruthless invader and wear a mask!


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