Steamed Indignation With a Side of Fury

I was all set to write a fiery post about the idea of “re-distributing the wealth in America” but on this side of the workday I’m too tired to get angry enough to write the post I had in mind. The post was going to be inspired by this post on Brazen Careerist. I read it this morning and was quite steamed up but procrastinated the writing of it until later and now here we are.

The reason I got so steamed up is, I suppose, because of taxes. I hate them, as I’m sure many of you do. I am so confused about why a portion of my paycheck is taken out every month to pay for social security when I know that I will never see a dime of that ever again. I can’t fathom why I work three months out of every year just to pay taxes. Moreover, I am appalled to realize that I could earn nearly as much collecting unemployment and welfare as I could working full time.

What a messed up world!

These are all long-standing issues, but the one that tipped me over the edge was reading about the idea of re-distributing wealth. That is, taxing the rich more than the poor and spreading the love around.

The overwhelming question that pops into my head is: How is that fair? Why is it fair that the people who have sacrificed years in school, training, and working their way to success have to pay exponentially more than people who spent no time in school, have few skills, and barely earn enough to pay their bills? Since when is success a liability and an obligation to pay for the lifestyle of others?

Truly, I feel like people in my generation have gotten a bit of a raw deal. We have emerged into adulthood in a time when things are priced not based on what people can afford but on what they can finance. Our tuition is high, our cost of living is high, and our wages are comparatively low.

I get it, it sucks. I’m right there with you.

However, I don’t want the government to try to swoop in and save me like I’m a damsel in a fairy tale. I’m a big girl and I’ll do it on my own without your tax breaks, education incentives, and rebates.

I’ll work two jobs (maybe even three!) and live well below my income level. I’ll put money into my savings account and put the rest toward debt. I’ll eventually scrape my way out of this pit (the student loan pit) and I don’t need the government to tax the life out of my poor neighbors who have worked for forty years to achieve their success to do it.

I feel like people my own age have an overwhelming feeling of entitlement, like they’re owed an easy life. In my (admittedly few) 23 years of life, however, one thing has become abundantly clear: The government doesn’t owe you the America Dream. You owe it to yourself.

The idea of taxing the rich disproportionately to the poor is essentially penalizing success. You reward the poor by taking away less of their income, providing them with subsidized programs, and giving them handouts. You do this at the expense of the people who have worked hard for their money.

Where, then, is the impetus for working hard and contributing? What is there to stop you from giving up and succumbing to the lure of a system that provides a crutch to the poor by handicapping the successful?

4 thoughts on “Steamed Indignation With a Side of Fury

  1. An Economic/Social Analogy:

    Suppose that every day, ten men (or women! ;) ) go out for beer and
    the bill for all ten comes to $100 (apparently, they had more than one!!) JOM.
    If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

    The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
    The fifth would pay $1.
    The sixth would pay $3.
    The seventh would pay $7.
    The eighth would pay $12.
    The ninth would pay $18.
    The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

    So, that’s what they decided to do………….

    The ten men ( drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve…..’Since you are all such good customers’, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.00. Drinks for the ten will now cost just $80.00’.

    The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share’? They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill in relationship to what each had paid, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

    And so:
    The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing
    The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3
    The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7
    The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12
    (25% savings).
    The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18
    (22% savings).
    The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59
    (16% savings).

    With this new plan, each of the six were better off than before and the first four continued to drink for free.

    However, once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

    ‘I only got a dollar out of the $20.’, declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’ ‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’
    ‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man.
    ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’ ‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

    The nine men surrounded the tenth man and beat him up. The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. However, when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

    And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works.

    The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore.
    In fact, they might start ‘drinking their beer’ overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

    David R. Kamerschen, Ph.D.
    Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

    For those who understand, no explanation is needed.
    For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.

  2. I want to know what happened to pride in being self-reliant instead of reliant on someone else?

    I look around my state and see all the public works projects that were completed from the 20's-50's, projects that didn't HAVE to be done, but were organized to give men (& women too, I suppose) the opportunity to be able to support their families in hard times.

    With all the work that needs to be done to our country's transportation infrastructure, I'd much rather have the money actually go towards getting something done to actually rebuild things that need to be fixed than just redistributed because someone exists.

    Am I preaching at the choir?

  3. -Mrs. Higrens, one of the rare benefits of preaching to the choir is when they sing a little song just for you :) I agree, though, that there does seem to be a lack of pride in self-reliance these days. Maybe it’s because the system is so fundamentally flawed that we’ve all been conditioned to stop trying (because it’s a lot of work for very little reward) and just accept that we need help (even though we don’t.)

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