You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.

July 20, 2009 at 10:40 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Then again, how is asking people who earn over a half million dollars a year to pay a couple of thousand dollars more in taxes destroying them? A person making $500,000/year gets a bimonthly paycheck that grosses roughly $21,000, or +$40,000/month. If they’ve invested wisely and take advantage of the kinds of tax shelters that are available, he or she can adjust that taxable income considerably. So, the notion that a $2,000 or even a $5,000 annual surcharge on that amount of income would dramatically impact that person’s lifestyle is preposterous. We’re talking about approximately $200/paycheck on a +$20,000 check to provide every American with quality health care. The result would be that no child of the wealthy would be taken out of private school. No mansion or Bentley would have to be sold. No second or third vacation home would be put on the market. No vacations to the Riviera would be cancelled. And no pools would go unheated. Those who say they would have to cut back on charitable giving are just looking for an excuse to do so.

Some would say that asking the wealthy to shoulder some of the costs of health care reform is unAmerican, or even socialistic. That might be true if there wasn’t any return on investment for the wealthy. The fact is, that providing health care for every American would resolve one of the biggest obstacles that our economy faces. Small businesses, which suffer the most with exhorbitant health care costs, would find immediately relief and be able to hold on to experienced workers longer. Wouldn’t a healthier economy with a healthier labor force enhance the investment opportunities for the wealthy, while creating a more stable financial foundation for the country as a whole? Years ago, there was a comic strip that had a blowhard millionaire corporate tycoon named General Bullmoose. The motto of this character was “What’s good for General Bullmoose is good for the USA.” Today, the reverse of that phrase is the reality of the situation. What’s good for the USA is the best way for General Bullmoose to hold onto his wealth. Otherwise, the whole system is put at risk.

While it’s true that the top 5% of the nation pays more than 50% of the taxes, it is also true that this same 5% also holds more than 90% of the nation’s wealth. The top 1% hold half the nation’s wealth. With the various loopholes and shelters provided by our obsolete tax code, most of these people pay less taxes than those in the middle class. Warren Buffet has publicly stated that he thinks it is obscene that he pays approximately 18% in taxes, while his secretary is paying a full 30%. The screams we hear from the wealthy about President Obama’s health care reform are fueled by inexplicable greed, ideological obstinance, and a total lack of compassion for those who are less fortunate.

It’s true. You can’t help the poor or the middle class by “destroying” the rich. But nobody is suggesting that destroying any level of our economy would help any other level. The point is that wealthy people in the United States have been existing in a protective bubble since the Reagan administration that was designed to preserve their wealth at the expense of the middle class. Those of us in the midsection of the economy have fewer hospitals, deteriorating public schools, bridges and highways, and almost zero access to government. To preserve the standard of living and health of the population as a whole, and keep this country from sliding into Third World status, it is high time that the wealthy in this country paid their fair share, which they have not. The claim that doing so would destroy their way of life is a fatuous argument.

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3 Comments

  1. Allan Erickson said,

    • johnrj08 said,

      Yes. That’s the entire issue, isn’t it. It is never a bad idea to get “both sides” of a story. However, in the case of health care reform, one side doesn’t want the other side telling its story so it disrupts town hall meetings and turns them into venomous shouting matches. The question is, what is driving all the belligerent behavior? It certainly isn’t the facts. The people who are doing the shouting at these meetings routinely say things like, “I don’t want the government messin’ with my Medicare!” not having a clue that the government administers Medicare. I suggest that you pay a visit to PolitiFact.com, a non-partisan Pulitzer prize-winning organization that is exposing the lies that are being spread about health care reform. The people and organizations who have been campaigning against reform are the winners of several “Pants-On-Fire” awards, which means they are bald-faced liars. The truth is the only thing we should be searching for here, rather than a pig-headed confirmation of our own misinformed opinion. We can’t do that when people on one side of the issue want to shout down anybody who has information which doesn’t conform to their beliefs. THAT is undemocratic.

      • johnrj08 said,

        The for-profit insurance industry collects $1 out of every $3 spent on health care. And that is just for administrative costs and executive bonuses which contribute NOTHING to the health of their customers. On top of that, private insurers are spending $1.4 million A DAY to fight health care reform. That’s where the money is coming from for those TV commercials that are spew one lie after another. And, then there are the thousands of insurance industry lobbyists in Washington who have been giving Congress a collective lap dance for the last decade, preparing them for this battle. This is nothing more than corporate fascism and it has nothing at all to do with capitalism. People call Obama a socialist and compare him to Hitler. That is coming directly from the people who are making billions of dollars every year despite a global recession.

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