The chart you’re going to see from about 3:30-6:00… most people you know are in the 0%-50% range. Through the dream of capitalism, they believe that at any moment, they might become one of the 90%-100%, or that somehow, the 90%-100% do something to help their lives in some way. That’s what we’re raised on as Americans.
The fact is, that’s not quite true. Most people would do well to break into the 60%-70% range. And the people who fall into the skyrocketing brackets of wealth? They get wealthy through a network of investments, sales and business moves. They stay wealthy by hoarding their money like dragons on crack. Often off-shore.
I’m not saying we should have tax reform that asks us all to give what we have for somebody else. The tax system we have now is a bit broken, but I’d say it’s just about as fair for the 0%-70% as we can manage. There’s always pain on the fringes of each tax bracket, but as far as I can see, no tax reform is going to fix that.
The tax reform we should champion is asking for just a tiny bit more from the people whose wealth is so great that we can’t even chart it. If they’re really such tycoons of business that they’re already doing there share, is it unreasonable for us to ask how, specifically, they’re doing that? If we shouldn’t touch their money and there’s good cause, I’m all ears. However, for every financial initiative that’s been pro-business for the purpose of hiring more and benefitting lower-level employees more, there’s been zero movement. So I’m willing to see tangible proof of their contribution and accept that as help. Having employees? That’s a contribution, but that’s not a personal contribution the way it is for a small business owner who sacrifices her own salary to have a staff. Donating to charity? Awesome, but how is that helping the economy as a whole? Buying stuff? Nice, but how much of that is spent on the US economy?
Is it unfair to ask that of the highest-earning Americans? Definitely, and I wouldn’t want to be in that position. But if their argument and influence against having to spend more on taxes is that they’re already contributing, shouldn’t they have to offer tangible proof rather than just vague theories?
More than that, why aren’t we demanding it, rather than just accepting what we’re told is true? Because we think we could be them one day, if only we’d win the lottery (PS Bill Gates has about 507 times the wealth that you’d gain by winning the lottery in my state right now.)
Sure this oversimplifies. But I think it’s something we need to think about and understand rather than just operating on our limited view of how much money even exists. People always get in a huff about tax reform, but I feel like the average person doesn’t even understand the enormity of changing the taxes on the highest-earning 20%. More than that, I’m bothered by the fact that people aren’t bothered when the suggestion to raise taxes on that 20% gets shot down immediately. (57 members of Congress fall in the mystical 1%.)