I tell Nick about Rebecca and Dennis in Iowa, about how their health-insurance costs are preventing them from driving across the state to celebrate their anniversary, thus denying them happiness and small businesses across Iowa their money.
“I fly around in a $25 million Falcon 2000,” he replies. “And they can’t afford to drive across the state to celebrate their anniversary? It’s not fair, and it’s terrible for business. The best ideas in the world aren’t worth jack shit unless you have someone to sell to.”
“I don’t even know how much my health care costs are,” he continues. “It doesn’t matter! For them it’s the difference between celebrating an anniversary and not celebrating an anniversary.” The solution, Nick says, is to raise taxes for the rich. He says a 50 percent rate for people like him seems about right.
“If you’re so concerned about it, why don’t you write a check?” I ask.
“You can’t build a society around the effort of a few do-gooders,” he replies. “History shows that most people would not do it voluntarily. People have to be required to participate.”
So instead, he says, he’s trying to convince everyone that the system needs a radical change. He co-authored a book about it: The Gardens of Democracy.
“The view that regulation is bad for business is almost universally held,” he says. “But in every country where you find prosperity, you find massive amounts of regulation. Show me a libertarian paradise where nobody pays any taxes and nobody follows rules and everybody lives like a king! Show me one!”