Pat Quinn, our new governor -- who seems to be a decent enough guy though of modest talents -- on Monday seems to have confused one of Karl Marx's and Joseph Stalin's most famous slogans with a democratic principle.
[Illinois] Governor Pat Quinn . . . says, "There will be some that will have a higher tax burden — but it'll be based on the principle that all of us in a democracy can believe in: ability to pay. My philosophy is to cut taxes on as many people as possible in Illinois."
However, the Governor wouldn't comment on reports he wants to raise the state income tax [from its current three percent] to four and a half percent.
The governor says families of four making less than about 57--thousand dollars a year won't see their taxes go up.
The idea that contributions should be "from each according to his ability" to pay or otherwise contribute is half of the ultimate goal of an advanced Marxist state:
In a higher phase of communist society, after the enslaving subordination of the individual to the division of labor, and therewith also the antithesis between mental and physical labor, has vanished; after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!
Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program.
In the 1936 Soviet Constitution, Joseph Stalin included Governor Quinn's principle as half of the general principle of socialism:
"The principle applied in the U.S.S.R. is that of socialism: From each according to his ability, to each according to his work."
Governor Quinn seems to have forgotten a bunch of other democratic principles that have equally fine pedigrees, such as:
and, of course, that old standby:
"One dollar, one vote."
"To each according to the contributions of their lobbyists."
"The Golden Rule: He who has the Gold, Rules."
"From the people, to the 'Friends of Angelo.'"
"From those who work hard, to those without cottages on the coast of Ireland."
"Soak the rich."
UPDATE: "Ability to pay" is NOT a central principle of income taxation "that all of us in a democracy can believe in." Some of us see it, at most, as a side constraint that should rarely come into play even in a system of progressive taxation.