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A case for fair taxation

Mark Easley | Wednesday, February 22, 2012

We should tax the rich people more. It makes sense, doesn’t it? You have just fallen into the trap. You have accepted the premise put on by liberals to separate a group of people, your fellow Americans, and to treat them differently. Negatively. It literally is the same as saying we should tax African-Americans more, or we should tax Jewish people more. It discriminates against them, creates class envy at the minimum and class hatred and bigotry at the worst. These are the same type of tactics used by socialists to spark failed and bloody communist revolutions across the world only decades ago. These are the same type of tactics used by racists and extremists to eventually justify violence or genocide. It’s dangerous thinking.

The problem we are facing is the large and unsustainable deficit the federal government has accumulated after a decade of intense spending by both parties. For a short term solution, it’s easy to make a scapegoat out of the “wealthy.” Who are the wealthy, anyway? Are we talking about the top one percent like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates? Are we talking about the CEOs and senior executives of Fortune 500 companies? The fat cat Wall Street bankers? Or is it the successful small business owners who own a chain of successful restaurants or service providers?

The great thing about America is there are a lot of wealthy people among us. Most of them are self-made, rewarded for the positive contributions they have made to society by our free market system. Yeah, you get the occasional silver spooners and trust fund babies, the old money aristocracy, but they are far from the norm. In America’s meritocracy, most of us earn what we get. The rich don’t always stay rich. Wealth can be lost with poor decision making. In our country, success is something to be celebrated and emulated, not punished. Even if a rich person just sits on his/her money, it is likely in a bank or investment that gets loaned out to others in order to potentially create more wealth and progress for society. Let me share with you the big, bad secret: Without rich people, we couldn’t get anything done. No new businesses, no great charities, and no new research came into existence without wealthy backers who risked their money to see financial returns and social progress.

Demonizing the rich only makes them want to leave. They aren’t stupid people. If it is bad enough, they are going to pick up and move. And nobody wants to live in an economy where there isn’t enough wealth to drive wealth creation. That is what we call societal regression. People of means are not the problem; the politicians are the problem. Politicians manipulate the ignorant to pass blame to the innocent for their own personal gain, when it is actually they who cause the problem in the first place. Washington bureaucrats are on a money high with the taxpayers’ dime, racking up debts like there is no tomorrow. All our deficit troubles will go away if we can make real lasting cuts in our outrageous spending, without having to raise taxes on anybody. If you cut deep enough, you can even lower taxes. We haven’t had conservative fiscal policy for many years, and that is hurting us now. We need real tax reform, such as a flat tax, instead of gimmicks like the Bush tax cuts. This would even the playing field and let the upper, middle and lower classes of America coexist instead of being driven apart.

All Americans should pay a fair share in taxes. However, if the system is inherently unfair, what is a fair share? Our tax code needs monumental reform in favor of simplicity and closed loopholes. Then we might get a better grasp of who really is paying what into this country.

Mark Easley is a senior computer science major. He can be contacted at measley@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.