Official: I see that you have a large income. We need more of it.
Mike: I work legally for my income and I pay 35% at the top tax rate. Isn't that enough?
Official: The economy is bad now. We need to take your money and pay other people. They will spend it and improve the economy.
Mike: Why do you think the economy will improve?
Official: 10 years ago the top rate was 39.6% and the economy was good.
Mike: Those things aren't related. How would higher tax rates produce a growing economy?
Official: I don't have time to discuss philosophy with you. You have the money. We want the money.
12/09/2010 - Neo-Neocon [edited]:
Dowd: It’s easy to explain to Americans in distress that the protection of vast fortunes should not be the priority of government.
That may be the most revealing sentence in Dowd's column. Dowd seems to imply that an income of $250,000 a year is vast wealth. Given the circles in which she moves, does she believe that?
More importantly, a main function of government is to protect the property of everyone. Wealth belongs to the person who earned it, if that wealth is amassed without robbing anyone or breaking any laws, whether the wealth be vast, middling, or small.
The rich pay taxes, as well they should. But there is nothing special about being rich that entitles others to take more and more of their money just because those others are "in distress.” A government is in big trouble when it sees the money of the rich as not worthy of being protected, and even as fruit ripe for the picking.
... and Pigs
From a comment by Artfldgr: How to Catch Wild Pigs [edited]:
An exchange student explained that he had been shot while fighting communists in his native country. They wanted to install a communist government. In the midst of his story he asked "Do you know how to catch wild pigs?" He explained that this was not a joke.
Put corn on the ground in the woods. The pigs will come every day to eat the free corn. When they get used to that, put a fence along one side of the area. When they get used to the fence, they will resume eating the corn. Then, put up another side of the fence. They will get used to that and resume eating.
Continue until you have all four sides of the fence with an open gate. The pigs will soon come through the gate to eat. Slam the gate on them, and catch the whole herd.
Suddenly, the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They will run around and around, but they are caught. Soon, they will go back to eating the free corn. They are used to it and have forgotten how to forage for themselves, so they accept their captivity.
Are taxes fair just because the majority voted? The social compact of the United States is for economic and personal freedom. The Constitution is not a suicide pact nor an agreement that the government can take what it wants.
The Congress has discovered (for the moment) that it can issue unlimited guarantees and borrow unlimited amounts. This does not give the Government moral authority to exploit those loopholes. This cannot lead to a better society, because the government must take from some and give to others, without creating a stable, prosperous society.
The government says that its deficit spending is "stimulus", but this is an excuse for paying supporters. The government will levy higher taxes on the people who organize jobs in the private sector, to pay back the borrowed money with interest. The private sector knows this, and refuses to work harder only to see their incomes taxes away. That is one cause of our jobless, stagnant economy.
Would you want to work hard for a better future, and then have the government decide you were too successful? With a government like that, who needs robbers?