All of the political talk the last few years has been disturbing. I am talking specifically about taxes, stimulus and doing whatever it takes to get our economy back on track and also to balance the budget and pay down our debt. The GOP mantra of no tax increases is absurd. The fact they actually signed a pledge that was anything but doing whats best for our country is nothing short of criminal. All of this current talk about not raising taxes but eliminating loopholes is just semantics. Watching all of this is nothing short of watching the decline of our country. And, what everyone, the markets, the world community are looking for is that the US government can actually govern. We are seen around the world as a joke, our politicians fighting and bickering like children in a sandbox. We have an immediate fiscal crisis coming up that could have cataclysmic side effects if not handled properly; we have a longterm unemployment crisis; we have a debt that could lead to the end of the American Empire; and what are we doing about it? Who is leading a solution? What are we as citizens being told about the details of some sort of grand bargain? Nothing is the word that can answer all of those questions.
Let me start by talking about taxes. No one likes taxes, thats a given. However the thought that people who earn more should pay a higher percentage in taxes is a completely fair way of establishing a tax code. If you step back and look at economics in general you will see some people do better than others. For some people they did better because they had opportunities other people didnt have. Maybe they, or their family, knew someone that gave them a break in their careers. Maybe they were born into a wealthy family. The thought that people who have been more fortunate dont want to pay a little more is just unacceptable to me. If you have an advantage in life that others don’t, dont you want to give back? Dont you want to help someone who has been less fortunate. The fact that this thought is so foreign to most people is really sad. I am not talking about any kind of income redistribution or taking money from the rich and giving it to the poor. But just the basic thought that you are more privileged and dont want to give more is a very sad commentary on our society. I know this from personal experience. I was born into a family that had a lot more than other families. I dont know what its like to go hungry or have had to save for college or not have had the nicest things around. Because of that I am always sure to be sensitive to others who didn’t grow up the way I did. I recently asked my mother what she and my father thought about paying higher taxes in the 80s and 90s when they both had very successful businesses, ie they were paying the highest Clinton rate of 39% or whatever it was. She said that neither she nor my father ever minded that. Their view, which I inherited, was that people who earn more should pay more to help society. When I was working I also did quite well, I remember thinking in 2000 that Bush cutting taxes was wrong; people like me didnt need the relief, and neither did people who were doing a lot better than I was. I think that as a society those who have more should give more. And I dont mean we should all pay the same tax rate, I mean their should be tiered taxes.
We have things that need to be done, police, teachers, firefighters; they all need to get paid. We count on them in case of emergencies. Its time for people who earn more to pay higher tax rates. Our country is in a terrible mess now, and we need revenue to move forward, put more people back to work, stimulate the economy, pay down our debt. This is not the time to be bickering about pennies, which is exactly what a 2% tax increase will be on higher income earners. Now is the time for people to step up and to want to help our country out of the mess we are in. The more advantages in life you are given, the more is expected from you.