In the hoo-hah over the 2014 budget, and whether seniors, who are mostly middle class, or poor, should lose some of their Social Security in order for us not to have to tax the top 1%, I have to wonder: Who actually deserves to fork over a bit more of their money?
Middle-class people generally work a full job, pay taxes on what they earn, and spend most of their money in ways that support the American economy: for housing, cars, groceries, movies or whatnot. (Poor people often work hard or even harder, but one of the definitions of “poor” is that they don’t get a living wage, so they don’t have a big tax imprint.)
The rich claim they “earn” their money.
Frankly, it is physically impossible for the top 1% to work enough hours in a day to actually earn, in honest wages, what they get. CEOs in the Fortune 500 get as much in one day as the average worker gets in one year, and the CEOs don’t get sore feet, carpal tunnel syndrome or bad backs from doing it. They don’t even get dirty. (Physically, that is.)
The rich claim they’re “growing the economy.” Well, if they’re growing the economy, they should have grown jobs for every American by now. If they haven’t, what are they getting that sort of pay for? And don’t blame the corporate tax rate, either. We have a high rate on paper, but because of all the loopholes, our corporations get away with hardly paying any of it.
The rich have living expenses, but only use a small percentage of their income on it. They have luxurious houses – houses plural, not even just A big house – and travel a lot, in private jets, not in the belly of our “economy class” whales. They don’t buy red-taped bananas. They do buy more foreign goods than the average American: Scotch Whiskey at $6,500 a bottle, Italian sports cars, the odd Renoir or Picasso to hang over the Italian-marble fireplace, y’know? Oh sure, not all rich people buy Porsches and Picassos and matching natural-pearl necklaces from the Persian Gulf. But very, very few of us in the Middle Class do.
With the incomes they have, not even the rich can actually spend all their money. So it goes to a Swiss Bank, or the Cayman Islands. Or the stock market. The stock market is different from the working economy. The stock market was originally invented to provide capital for new and growing businesses, but nowadays it serves more as a sophisticated way of recycling money between the rich and the very, very rich. Sure, the ordinary guy is encouraged to take part, and sometimes we make a few thousand even without insider knowledge. Compared to the mega-rich, that’s a drop in the bucket.
In Eisenhower’s day, the economy was booming. The rich paid up to 90% in taxes, and they still didn’t have to buy red-taped bananas. Even with 90% of their money going back to the country, you didn’t see rich people losing their homes or not being able to afford prescription medicines.
Remember when I-75 was built? That 90% tax rate helped create the infrastructure that helped the economy grow and make the rich guys richer. Now their mega-companies still make money out of using the infrastructure, but they don’t want to pay for its upkeep.
The Middle Class occasionally go out for fun and gamble some of their money. Bankers and Wall Street brokers get their fun gambling with other people’s money – and they game the system so they win even when they lose our dough. What’s worse, they have gambled with – and endangered – the country’s economic stability.
The Middle Class have a sense of fairness, the rich have a sense of entitlement. Charles Koch, the oil gazillionaire, was once asked why he was cheating poverty-stricken Native Americans. He famously said, “I want my fair share – and that’s all of it.”
The Middle Class believe the poor have the right to work their way up, if they try hard. However, the Rich have got richer by sending jobs overseas, screwing the nation’s economy, and making it nearly impossible for poor people to get ahead. Oh, yeah, and they blame the jobless for not having jobs. The poor would like to think they have the right to advance, but in too many cases, they’ve lost hope.
What else do the Rich do? They buy our Congress critters and corrupt our government. They buy the media and tell us how to think. They make money by poisoning our air and water. And then they tell us a few pesticides, a little mercury and arsenic, won’t hurt us. (But don’t expect them to pay for us if the pesticides and arsenic make us sick after all.)
The Middle Class, and the poor, serve in the Military. The only rich guys who’ve done any military service are those old enough to have been drafted, back in the day. Young billionaires are way too valuable to risk getting shot for their country.
The Middle Class believes in the American system. The Rich believe the system belongs to them. They’re on record as having admitted they think the moneyed class should rule us. They even invented a word for what they want the USA to be: a Plutarchy. That means, rich people govern the rest of us, like the lords and ladies used to rule the peons.
Now, once again. Who deserves to part with some more of their money?