So I got into a sort of argument today with a friend I consider highly intelligent and also a good friend and person. We were discussing the amount of tax paid by the wealthy and whether it was fair to expect the wealthy to pay a higher tax percentage than the rest of us(middle class, lower class etc.). I, personally, as a person who is a stay at home dad and doesn’t currently have a job, do not think they should and I wanted to delve into the issue in the hopes of getting people to understand where I am coming from and why. Sadly, like many issues in this country, politicians on both sides are constantly misrepresenting the facts around this issue, making it even harder to form a fact based opinion. Let’s look at a few things that are fact, not opinion because I think that will help us have a clearer view of the issue.
- The top 1% of earners in this country, depending on your source, pay approximately 37-40% of all the taxes collected from individuals each year. This is the first reason I do not support a raise in the tax rate for millionaires. Despite what one political party or another implies, these people already pay far more than the middle and lower class does into the tax coffer.
- Second, and this is my personal opinion, to me to have a realistic view of who is contributing what you have to look at the dollars not the percentages. The reason for this is that when looking at dollars, you have a measurable figure you can factor in to each person’s contribution on an even playing field of value. A dollar has the same value no matter where it comes from but percentages carry different weights with different income levels. Percentages are nice but because each person makes a different amount of money you can’t really make an even comparison. For example, there are wealthy people who last year paid 5 million dollars in taxes. There are also middle and lower class people who paid $12,000 dollars last year. Now when you look at the percentages, it doesn’t tell the true story, which is that the person who paid the 5 million, regardless of percentage, paid 416 times the amount that the $12,000 person did. Now, in my opinion, I just cannot understand how anyone could say that the first person in this example is not paying their fair share when, in dollars, they contributed more to the financial well-being of our country in one year than the second person will contribute in their whole life!
- Third. We are a free capitalistic country where we supposedly have the freedom and the liberty to live our lives the way we wish. Now because of that fact, and I know this bugs some people, but if a person, in their life, values being rich more than anything else, they are free to be as rich as they want. I don’t think this makes them a very good person but I personally value some things that others think are crazy and I want that right, so I can’t justify denying that right to another person.
- Fourth and Final point-Look, I wish we lived in a world where everyone was a Care Bear and wanted to help each other but we don’t. For those out there that feel the rich owe us more, what would you say to an extra tax being added to the middle class so that we can help starving children in Africa for example? Think about it…should the middle class be told they need to help the super poor? And don’t give me the “we can’t afford it” excuse because it is the middle class that fills football stadiums, music venues and movie theaters every day. Those are not necessities are they? So why not take the middle classes right to have that pointless entertainment,so children halfway around the world don’t have to drink water with dirt in it? I’ll tell you why, because if a politician came out with that proposal there would be outrage over personal freedom,over a person’s right to have a beer after work, over the government deciding what is a priority in your life.
- Those are the reasons I feel it is no more fair to expect the rich to fix the problems of the middle class than it is to expect the middle class to give up all non-essentials so that poverty over the world could be solved. Its human nature, people wouldn’t accept it and anybody who either wants to do one but not the other, I’m sorry, is being a hypocrite. Give up your video games, your beer, your cigarettes, all things that you want but don’t need and give it all to the super poor and when the middle class does that en masse then I will happily support that same middle classes request that the rich give their extra to them.