On Taxing the Rich…

I saw this meme today. Now, I’ve got to say, I’ve never been impressed by Ayn Rand. I think she was a selfish, self-serving idiot. She wrote what is, basically, a kid’s book called ‘Atlas Shrugged.’ It’s an over-simplified story of the glories of the so-called “free market” that works out well for the protagonist because SHE wrote the story and got to choose the outcome. The conservatives of this once-great nation have glommed onto it like the new and improved Bible. She means to be railing at government but when I read this all I can think about is Jeff Bezos and his ilk. It’s like so many other things conservatives cling to. It’s technically true but aimed at the wrong target.

Specifically because so many cons are in thrall to the one percent, her final line is likely true, as well. They honestly believe that government is the problem and that, given the chance, the one percent will, eventually, do the right thing. Of course, they also believe they can defeat a virus by shoving a black-light up their asses so…they may not be a dependable source. The one percent isn’t going to do anything for anyone but themselves any time soon. They’ve had 40 years to do something. Still waiting. It’s well past time to tax the rich their fair share. Let them pay taxes at a rate commensurate with the rate they extract from society. (You keep all the money? YOU pay all the taxes!)

I’ve written before about my idea I call ‘Backs or Bucks.’ The concept is simple. People – and I mean everybody – should contribute to society, either with their backs or their bucks. For most of us, it’s some combination of the two. But, according to my view, the more one contributes to society with their backs, the LESS they should be asked to contribute with their bucks and vice-versa. The one percent, generally, don’t do any work. They just take the spoils of the work others do. I know many don’t believe me. Here’s one way a person can tell if someone is working or not.

The IRS recognizes two types of income based on the source derived. Not to put too fine a point on it, they call the two types either ‘Earned Income’ or ‘Unearned Income.’ See that keyword there, ‘Unearned’? Basically, it’s money that came your way even though you did nothing to earn it. There’s another name for that you’re more likely to have heard, Capital Gains. American homeowners tend to see Capital Gains in the increased value of their houses. The one percent see Capital Gains in pretty much everything they do and they don’t pay taxes at the same rate as working people, either. They pay far less. The top book rate for Capital Gains is currently 20%. The top book rate for earned income is 37%.

People who don’t fully understand exactly HOW they’re getting screwed in this deal will tell you what the one percent WANT them to tell you: the one percent deserve to take more because they started the company. I actually agree with that sentiment – to a point. See, Bezos DID start Amazon and, I think we can agree, it’s been wildly successful. But Bezos only filed some paperwork to start a company. The wild success of Amazon is NOT because the company was started. It’s because of the workers doing the work that produces value. There’s a rule about that: Capital is always dependent upon – and secondary to – labor.

So, sure, Bezos started the company and “deserves” more – but how much more? To me, the answer to THAT question is the answer to another question. How much money could Bezos make if he didn’t have any employees? THAT’S how much more he “deserves.” But he keeps FAR more than that. From my point of view, it’s wage theft. The one percent like to say that if we just give them all the money, it will encourage them to, maybe, someday, do something good for those around them. I say that high taxes on the one percent will cause them to actually do what they always promise low taxes might someday encourage them to do. The cons have had their “free market” run and, like always, have been proven wrong. It’s time to return to a regulated, taxed market – call it the “fair market.”

President Biden is proposing a new tax rate that would take the capital gains tax as high as 49%. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. I vote yes. Honestly, I don’t believe the new rates will ever be enacted. The one percent have too much American money and they’re using it against Americans. But just the idea that someone proposed doing the right thing, out loud and in public, shows promise.

Hope springs eternal, I guess…

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