Obama shares the wealthWritten by Maggie Thurber | Toledo Free Press Writer | firstname.lastname@example.org
Much has been said about Sen. Barack Obama’s comment to “Joe the Plumber” about “sharing the wealth,” and many people seem to agree that the “rich” should pay more in taxes than the ‘poor’ or the ‘middle class’ simply because they have more money.
It was Karl Marx who said, “From each according to his ability to each according to his needs.” And it is Obama who is promoting the same philosophy.
His approach to taxes is indicative of this philosophy. He wants to tax “rich” people more so he can provide “tax credits” to those who are “not rich.” In fact, many of the tax credits he proposes will go to people who are not paying taxes in the first place.
It’s sort of like the stimulus package that was passed by Congress earlier this year. They actually changed the name to “stimulus package” after they realized that it was a bit contradictory to give a “refund” to people who didn’t pay anything in the first place. Remember:
- The top 5 percent of tax filers (those making $153,542 or more) already are paying about 60 percent of all individual income taxes collected.
- The top 10 percent of tax filers (above $108,904) pay almost 71 percent.
- The top 25 percent of tax filers (above $64,702) pay just over 86 percent.
- The top 50 percent of tax filers (above $31,987) pay 97 percent.
(Adjusted gross income — figures based on tax year 2006 from the National Taxpayers Union)
Obama thinks that people who are already paying 60 percent of the nation’s personal income taxes aren’t paying enough, so his plan is to tax many of those people more so that everyone else can pay less.
So what does this mean? It is, indeed, a “share the wealth” philosophy — a warped sense that if someone earns something, there is an injustice that must be corrected by the government.
If your neighbor has steak for dinner and you have bologna, do you get to take part of your neighbor’s dinner just because he has something you don’t?
If you work hard at school and earn an “A,” should the student who didn’t study and gets an “F” be given some of your score so that both of you have a “C?”
What about in sports? Should every football player on every NFL team earn the same wage? Maybe the managers should take from the quarterback’s wages and give to the lineman so everything is fair.
And then there is the entertainment industry. We could take from the big stars and give to the unnamed actors and actresses struggling to get by. The fact that a star in a movie has more lines, a more demanding performance and can generate more profit the movie isn’t relevant — it’s not fair for the star to make so much and the extra to make so little. Let’s “share the wealth” in this industry.
Or, better yet, Obama’s campaign has raised more money than Sen. John McCain has. Let’s take the donations to Obama and spread them equally among the other presidential candidates.
If anyone tried to institute the redistribution inherent in these examples, it would be rejected outright — not just by the people who are being taken from, but by most Americans.
So what makes the tax policy any different? Why would we accept — much less embrace — a redistribution of wealth through our tax policy when we’d reject such Marxist ideas when it comes to other areas?
Have we become such a greedy nation that we somehow think it’s right to not only covet, but also to steal from others so that we can have something they’ve earned? Or is it just decades of entitlement-philosophical indoctrination that has led us to the point that some of us think it’s okay to expect others to pay for things we’re not willing to work for? Our founding fathers knew the folly of such ideas.
Ben Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
And James Madison said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
No matter how much you might like the idea of “sharing the wealth,” it has led to failure everywhere it has been tried. Remember this when you go to vote on Nov. 4.
Former Lucas County Commissioner Maggie Thurber is the host of WSPD’s “Eye on Toledo.” She blogs at http://thurbersthoughts.blogspot.com.