Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Taxing the Rich...and other fairy tales

Here’s my new favorite word: fair. Despite the attempts of many (okay, hardly anyone) in the mainstream media to educate the populace on how the economy works, the most popular American argument to solve the debt crisis is to raise taxes on the wealthy. After all, there comes a point where you’ve made enough money (put a little inflection on “money” so you sound really hep).

Here, I’m going to say something that will really piss off a lot of people: you’re not interesting in fairness, you want to punish people who’ve succeeded where you’ve failed. It’s kinda like the high school kid who spreads nasty rumors about the girl who got elected prom queen. It doesn’t matter that you never showered and scowled at everyone who roamed into your personal space, it just isn’t fair. You know, I agree, I think Stephen King should be taxed 90% of his income because he can publish his grocery list and I can’t get my masterpiece into print. He’s not very pretty, either. So there.

But let’s try it. Let’s tax everyone making over $100,000 per year 100% of their income. That would come out to about $3trillion. Not bad. That would cover more than half of the budget. Except, of course, that the top 5% of earners already pay 85% of the taxes, so we’re really not gaining that much. All of this is easily found on the internet, by the way. The IRS is full of little tidbits. I suggest a little Google-ing before casting in stone something spouted by Whoopi Goldberg.

Speaking of hypocrites. Why, in America, is someone who makes millions per year by acting, singing, or sports considered a hero, while anyone making millions providing a product or service that we all need considered greedy? Here’s my favorite: Michael Moore earns millions a year making “documentaries,” all while bashing capitalism. I believe we call this “eating the hand that feeds you.”

Getting past all that, here’s the common sense that ain’t so common anymore: the nasty rich people you so despise are the ones who got rich by building companies, big ones and small ones. And guess what those companies do? Right! They hire you! That way, you can buy the wide screen TV (made by a filthy capitalist), SUV (made by a filthy capitalist), and 2000 sq.-ft. house (made by a filthy capitalist). Then you can drive home from your filthy capitalistic job in your SUV, walk into your big house, turn on the wide screen, and watch Keith Olbermann (getting richer every day) bash the guy who gave you the job, built your car, your TV, and your house. Only in America (or any other country with socialist aspirations).

So how hard do you think your employer is going to work in building your company if you tax the jeevies out of him? Let’s see, I can bust my arse 70 hours a week, pull down half a million a year, and have it taxed 89%, leaving me a cool fifty or sixty grand. Or I can push a pen 40 hours a week, pull down $70,000 per year, taxed at 39%, leaving me forty or fifty grand a year. Ummm….think I’ll take the less stressful route. Sorry, employees, you’re all fired. I’m going to Wal Mart!

It is not a crime to grow rich. It certainly wouldn’t be a crime if you suddenly had a flash of brilliance, invented a device that would double fuel economy, and made a few million this year, would it? The rich are people who made smart decisions. Most didn’t luck into their wealth. It wasn’t taken from you and given to them. However, most seem happy with the idea of taking it from the rich and giving it to the poor. Somehow, though, the idea of allowing the rich to invest their wealth into more job-creating businesses is heartless and cruel. Better to just rip the money out of their hands, launder it through the bureaucratic maze in Washington, and hand the remaining 10% to the poor. Then, of course, push lottery tickets on them so the state can get the rest of its money back. Fairness, American style.

I suppose, since the federal government is now the biggest shareholder in General Motors, that we could just let them do the company building. That way, they could build the things that make the most sense to them. Things like electric cars, solar panels, paper shredders. Why bother with capitalism at all? Looks like Uncle Joe Stalin and Fidel were right. We just didn't get it. We understand now. Workers of the world unite!

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