Adamsmith

The intellectual father of market capitalism:

The necessaries of life occasion the great expense of the poor. . . . The luxuries and vanities of life occasion the principal expense of the rich, and a magnificent house embellishes and sets off to the best advantage all the other luxuries and vanities which they possess. . . . It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something more than in that proportion. 

Notice how he puts it: "not very unreasonable."

In my view, still lamentable. But also not a rigid rule, since real conservatives do not believe in rigid rules. My view - again - is that the obvious problems of the US economy right now are not the same as they were in the 1970s. I would prefer a candidate who would cut entitlements and defense to a candidate who raised taxes on the successful. But such a candidate is not running. McCain's budget proposals would add more to the debt than Obama's. And if we are going to spend enough to avoid a great depression and if we are to provide some stimulus to encourage energy innovation and if we are going to provide greater access to healthcare insurance, then the money has to come from somewhere.

In an ideal world, I prefer Ron Paul's economics to Barack Obama's. But Obama will have to do.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.