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From the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch:

Richard Gephardt seems to be bright enough. He's articulate, and while his speeches seldom leave audiences rolling in the aisles he does not come off as a grouch. There probably are worse companions for an evening of chatter and beer. And regarding his recent tax-reform proposal, he says:

"Those who have prospered and profited from life's lottery have a moral obligation to share their good fortune."

James Glassman, who writes about economics for The Washington Post (and who does not march to Newt Gingrich's beat), supplies a translation:

"The rich -- who, as we all know, got that way to sheer luck -- don't pay enough taxes. So we're going to make them pay more."

Soak 'em!

Please note that Gephardt's equation leaves no room for initiative, enterprise or achievement. If his words are serious and not partisan blather, then the House minority leader apparently believes that make a shrewd business decision -- e.g., developing a new product of supplying a popular service -- resembles hitting the right numbers on Pick 3. Financial success doesn't depend on skill. It depends on fate -- or something. Henry Ford lucked into the Model T.

Let's assume Gephardt is right. His economic reasoning also applied to politics. If business success results not from hard work and keen judgment but from luck, then it stands to reason that electoral success results from luck too. Do politicians who have prospered from life's lottery have a moral obligation to share their power? Someone tempted to take Gephardt at his word might conclude that his logic justifies term limits.

Gephardt won his first election to Congress in 1976. He represents a district in Missouri, which at last counting was not a backward place. Surely his district has other Democrats who could serve it well. Given his views on sharing wealth, will Gephardt choose to share power by stepping aside?