The Florida Today newspaper ran a “Your Opinion” letter to the editor from a John Cunningham pf West Melbourne.
Cunningham starts by saying:
As we approach the 2012 election season, the right wing has trotted out its time-tested bromide of “class warfare” to decry the notion wealthy people should pay their fair share to ensure we have a functioning society.
We wanted to make sure we represented Cunningham’s ideas fairly, so we looked up the word “bromide.” According to dictionary.com, a “bromide” is a a platitude or trite saying.” Right off the bat, Cunningham launched into a unsubstantiated attack in framing the message as “trite.” Yet later on, as we will see, he agrees liberals are engaged in and should support”class warfare.”
Liberals typically run from this intended slur, when we should embrace it. Of course, it’s class warfare, and the right has been annihilating us for 30-plus years.
We guess saying “class warfare” wasn’t a “bromide” after all.
FLORIDA TODAY’s pompous columnists moan that a substantial portion of Americans pay little or no federal taxes. That’s what happens when the top 1¤percent control 24 percent of the wealth. They think it would be swell for the working poor to cough up a little more in addition to the payroll tax, sales tax and other and taxes everyone pays.
Cunningham needs to be introduced to facts instead of rhetoric.
The “rich” or top 1% pay 38.02% of all income taxes collected. So over 1/3 of all taxes are paid by 1%. Expand that a little and the top 5% pay 58.7% – well over half of all income taxes collected. The top 10% pay 69.94%
So 10% of all income earners are paying 70% of all taxes.
Entry into those hallowed ranks? Well to be in the top 10%, your adjusted gross income need merely be $113,000. “Rich”, right?
Of course not, in fact, most who understand what it requires to live realize that $113,000 is working class. The top 5%’s income threshold is $159,000. And the top 1% is $380,000.
So what Mr. “It’s not class warfare” [Obama] is recommending is raising taxes on those who already pay 38% of all taxes.
How much more does Cunningham want to people to pay? At what point in time is enough enough? How can Cunningham, or anyone, defend the idea that it is fair to tax people that are paying the vast majority of the taxes more, while continuing to assert that those who do not pay any taxes should continue to do so?
How is that “fair?”
Or as J.E. Dyer writes:
If any of us doesn’t deserve to keep everything he has earned, then that man is a slave. Alternatively, he is less than human; he has no moral standing, and no unalienable rights inhere in him. He is like a farm animal.
Of course we all deserve to keep our own money. If it is ill-gotten – stolen, swindled – then it’s the crime that deprives us of it, not any inherent function of the armed authorities to prowl the land in search of “undeserved” bank balances.
The question of what we “deserve” boils down to which came first, the individual human with rights, or the state. America was founded on the principle that the individual human with rights comes first. Any idea that violates that principle is counter to our founding idea. It is not possible to reconcile with our founding principle the idea of collective schemes in which we make some modification to “what we deserve.” We either deserve to keep all our own earnings – money – wealth – goods – or we do not have unalienable rights.
Now, what we decide to do with our own money will inevitably involve government functions of some kind. People have to have a government in some form. A certain minimum set of public services is essential to corporate human life. The American founding idea is that we the people decide what government will do, and we decide how much money government will have to do it with. Then we contribute out of what is inalienably ours.
The core of Cunnungham’s argument comes down to his last few sentences:
Tea party Republicans are very loud, but it’s heartening to know almost 70 percent of Americans think the wealthy have a responsibility to pay more and the middle class has sacrificed enough.
Redistribution of wealth? Darn right. The rich have benefited greatly from the commons — roads, other infrastructure, police, fire and the courts. It’s time for them to step up.
Cunningham is actually advocating the stealing of people’s property because the majority thinks it is “okay.” That is really what he is saying. He wants the money that other people have earned through their hard work and sacrifice. He wants the fruits of their labor.
He is making the claim that he has the right to those fruits.
But there is not only an ideological flaw in Cunningham’s way of thinking, there is a economic flaw as well. And its a doozey – the money from taxing the rich into oblivion won’t make a difference:
So taking half of the yearly income from every person making between one and ten million dollars would only decrease the nation’s debt by 1%. Even taking every last penny from every individual making more than $10 million per year would only reduce the nation’s deficit by 12 percent and the debt by 2 percent. There’s simply not enough wealth in the community of the rich to erase this country’s problems by waving some magic tax wand.
Finally, to put everything in perspective, think about what would need to be done to erase the federal deficit this year: After everyone making more than $200,000/year has paid taxes, the IRS would need to take every single penny of disposable income they have left. Such an act would raise approximately $1.53 trillion.
Yet Cunningham is happy to wage in “class warfare.” He, like many on the left, are willing to point the fingers at others and say “pay more!” while protecting what he feels is rightfully his. It is another case of “don’t do as I do, do as I say.”
Clearly Cunningham does not understand the American ideal. He does not understand the American dream.
More than anything, Cunningham does not understand freedom.
America was founded on the principle that individual rights precede and constrain the state. As far as government is properly concerned, we all deserve to keep 100% of our money. The question of what we decide to do with it, and how the functions of government figure into that, is a separate and subordinate topic.
It is impossible to live as free men and women otherwise.
The scary thing is people like Cunningham vote. They actually step into a polling place and pull a lever. Their ideas are those designed to kill America, and they vote that way.
Facts and logic never matter to people like Cunningham. What used to be called the moral sin of “jealousy” is now advocated as “class warfare.”
Be afraid of the green-eyed jealousy monster in the form of people like Cunningham.
They must be stopped.