Socialist and communist countries like Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia provide abject lessons in what failed economies look like, and yet some Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination are promising to pursue similar policies if they are elected.

Other Democrats who aren’t running for president but who just got elected to Congress — like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez — are also on the socialism bandwagon, despite plenty of real-time, real-world evidence to prove such economic models are country-killers.

They appear to be in competition to see who can out-raise the others in terms of tax rates:

— In an interview with “60 Minutes” that was broadcast last weekend, Ocasio-Cortez tried to make the case that top rates for ‘wealthy’ Americans could go as high as 70 percent, because, you know, they don’t already pay their “fair share,” as she intimated.

— Julian Castro, who was in Obama’s Cabinet, just formed a presidential committee to sort of test the waters for 2020. He picked up on Ocasio-Cortez’s 70 percent bid and raised her, using the same lame excuse that Leftists always use when they’re plotting to confiscate someone else’s wealth — the “fair share” excuse.

“There was a time in this country where the top marginal tax rate was over 90 percent,” Castro told ABC News in praise of Ocasio-Cortez’s recommendation. “Even during Reagan’s era in the 1980s, it was around 50 percent.”

— Meanwhile, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who has also formed a presidential exploratory committee and made a trip to Iowa, the first-in-the-nation caucus state, last week, has yet to announce a top tax rate that she would like to see imposed. That said, she has talked favorably of boosting them.

“Look, there was a time in a very prosperous America — an America that was growing a middle class, an America in which working families were doing better generation after generation after generation — where the top marginal rate was well above 50 percent,” Warren told CNBC in July.

“Ninety percent sounds pretty shockingly high. But what I’m trying to get at is this is not about negotiating over specific numbers.”

Meanwhile, as the Washington Times reported, other Democrats are still seething over the tax cut and reform bill passed by Republicans and POTUS Donald Trump about a year ago. While Americans who earned less will pay a little bit less in taxes, corporations got a much-needed cut and so did high-end earners, but not all of them.

Democrats’ passion for confiscating the wealth of high-end earners is akin to punishing success. It always has been. Democrats who push for these kinds of tax rates are never forced to explain why they want to demonize successful people.

Similarly, they’ve never been forced to explain what it is about “corporations,” which provide millions of jobs to people along with decent salaries and benefits, are inherently evil.

America is supposed to be the one place on earth where you can pursue your dreams and ‘make it;’ why would anyone put forth any effort to do so if they knew Democrats with insatiable appetites for someone else’s money were simply going to confiscate the bulk of your earnings?

And if no one puts forth the effort, guess what? Economies die. Countries fail. People become mired in misery.

To the clueless running for the Democratic nomination in 2020, using top tax rates of years past to justify them today is apples and oranges; back then, top rates affected far fewer Americans than they would today. And when those rates began to inflict harm on our economy, they were reduced.

If Democrats get their way and are somehow able to push through these kinds of top tax rates, the American dream will finally die — a slow, painful death.  — Jon Dougherty

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