In the weekend forum held by Reverend Rick Warren with President… I mean… Senator Barack Obama and John McCain, Warren raised the issue of “the rich”. My favorite. Liberals don’t like people to be classified as Liberal or Conservative, but they are ok with classifying people as Rich and Poor. Obama’s response was this:
Look, the – here’s how I think about it. Here’s how I think about it. And this is reflected in my tax plan. If you are making $150,000 a year or less, as a family, then you’re middle class or you may be poor. But $150,000 down you’re basically middle class, obviously depends on the region where you’re living…
I would argue that if you’re making more than $250,000, then you’re in the top three percent, four percent of this country. You’re doing well. Now, these things are all relative. And I’m not suggesting that everybody is making over $250,000 is living on easy street. But the question that I think we have to ask ourselves is, if we believe in good schools, if we believe in good roles, if we want to make sure that kids can go to college, if we don’t want to leave a mountain of debt for the next generation. Then we’ve got to pay for these things, they don’t come for free, and it is irresponsible.
I believe it is irresponsible intergenerationally for us to invest or for us to spend $10 billion a month on a war and not have a way of paying for it. That, I think, is unacceptable. So nobody likes to pay taxes. I haven’t sold 25 million books but I’ve been selling some books lately, and so I write a pretty big check to Uncle Sam. Nobody likes it. What I can say is under the approach I’m taking, if you make $150,000 or less, you will see a tax cut. If you’re making $250,000 a year or more, you’re going to see a modest increase. What I’m trying to do is create a sense of balance, and fairness in our tax code. One thing I think we can all agree on, is that it should be simpler so that you don’t have all these loopholes and big stacks of stuff that you’ve got to comb through, which wastes a huge amount of money and allows special interests to take advantage of things that ordinary people cannot take advantage of
Now certainly, it is readily discernable that if you are a making $250,000 a year you are better off than someone making $20,000. However, the question we should all be asking our politicians is “Why should you care what I make?”
Income is not a question of fairness or balance. In a free market economy you are paid what you have accepted either thru negotiation or market price. In a sense, you are paid exactly what you’re worth and not a penny more. I say that because in a free market, resources are used in the most efficient way possible and if you were worth more, someone would pay you what you’re worth for your services. (Please note that I am speaking of the market place. Stay at home moms, like my wife, are worth their weight in gold and don’t “earn” a penny. Spending time with your kids and raising them properly is worth more than anyone could offer)
So when you try to initiate fairness or that everyone will “pay his or her fair share”, does that mean that everyone will pay taxes in proportion to the amount they make? Of course not. For most politicians, even some Republicans, paying your “fair share” means that if you make more you can afford to pay an even higher percentage than those who don’t. So instead of everyone paying 10% or 15%, low income families pay nothing while high income families, as low as $150,000, pay 40% tax rates. I don’t see how that can be equitable. As though income capability is a community trait.
Fairness and balance, to a politician, means that everyone should earn roughly the same thing and those who make less should be supplemented by those who make more. The pocketbooks of the less marketable and/or less talented should be lined by those who have considerably more talent and/or marketability.
Obama believes in something contrary to what Thomas Jefferson believed. He believes it is the government’s job to care for those who earn less. Thomas Jefferson believed that was the essence of oppressive government. “I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them” We would all do well to trust him.