"[I]t is Democratic rhetoric that reducing the tax percentage is a benefit only for the rich.… Why should I have to pay a greater percentage of my income than you? Further, if I spend money not taxed, or invest in the stock market that is capital created to generate more jobs that can be further taxed.… In economics that is called the "multiplier effect". Generating wealth creates more tax revenue."Let me confess here to an overall ignorance of economics, market capital, taxes, etc., and I bow to his superior knowledge on the matter. I'm just a news junkie and political animal with an interest in a great many issues, though professing little expertise on any one other than my navel. But I'll give this a try.
First, I stipulate to the premise that spending money not taxed stimulates the economy. Bully! That's what greases the wheels of civilization, generates jobs, etc. That is the lifeblood of the free market, apple pie and Chevrolet. It's what makes things Go! It's what's made us great in the traditional sense of the word.
But that's money that's ultimately ending up in fewer and fewer hands. Taxes, on the other hand, is what a government Of The People uses to better the lives of those people. It pays for our military, our law enforcement, environmental cleanup, healthcare, public education, consumer protection, and on and on. Money not taxed is inevitibly earmarked up, not down, such that a corporate CEO earns 1,435 times that of his lowliest employee, say, a coal-miner, while the miner, when not working in dangerously under-regulated conditions, sees his promised retirement & health benefits rescinded by fiat and not out of necessity. Why do you think the first order of business in the 110th is to raise the minimum wage?
And what of jobs these days? You mean the ones being outsourced to India, Indonesia or to Mexico? Or the ones still to be had stateside: the ones in manufacturing-turned-hamburger-flipping? And let me squash the "generating wealth creates more tax revenue" myth: Maybe it did in a bygone era, but I think I'd very much like to hear what a Henry Waxman/Barney Frank/John Conyers-chaired committee can come up with regarding this thing called "off-shore accounts," or, say, the massive redistribution of wealth in this brave new world of Bush-brand tax cuts. I'm betting that jury will be out for some time.
Again, I don't pretend to know a whole lot about all this as I'm not paid handsomely to analyze finance, nor do I have to contend with the harsh reality of high-overhead personal finance, so I'm hoping you can educate me: The reduction of the tax percentage means, I think, what Steve Forbes has championed and what you're advocating: A flat tax, yes?
And why should you have to pay a greater percentage? Well, maybe you shouldn't. Maybe we all should pay 30 cents to the government for every dollar we earn. Why not eliminate the income tax altogether and go with a national sales tax?
For the sake of argument then, perhaps you should because you reap a greater reward, just as the upper class earns an even greater reward -- rewards not necessarily bestowed by the government but by life itself. You have a lovely, large home. You drive a snazzy car. You can afford to pay a monthly stipend to ensure your family's health coverage. You've travelled the world. You play golf and fart a lot!
I say this knowing you are one who does indeed count your blessings. You value your good fortune and your family and friends. So why, then, should you be made to pay a greater percentage when it may not be empirically justifiable? Bottom line? Because that's where the money is, the money to make life palatable for the rest of us. We who are without health insurance; we who live in the ramshackle, and/or drive same, while we toil and spin and can barely afford to go to the beach for a weekend and call it a vacation; we who aren't asking for welfare but do expect a decent subsidy and -- yes, Goddamit! -- health benefits for our hard work; we who hear "Let them eat cake!" and want only to respond with "Off with their heads!"
"Hey, life's a bitch!" you say? (Or as Naahm put it recently: "Too effin bad!"). Well mebbe so. Consider it protection money then. Peace of mind. The great unwashed can be made angry and they can be motivated to do things that also trickle up. If done in an orderly manner, we have an electoral "wave." When it's disorderly... well, you're enough of a historian to have heard of riots and revolution? But if that's too abstract, know this: without the workers' efforts -- their LABOR -- none of us owns squat! There y'go! Consider your taxes a gratuity!
And smile, my Brother! Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, as will I (albeit at a significantly lower rate), and I will see you and the family at Thanksgiving, eh?
And U 2, Brotherman the Elder! Happy Birthday!