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Tom Sears

January 4, 2011

On the Right Side: Taxing the rich a poor idea

It's getting rather tiresome to hear the same old chanting from the left, the liberals and the free-spending politicians -- "Tax the rich! Tax the rich!"

I've got a better mantra for you. How about "It's not my money"?

Aren't you a little ashamed of the self-demeaning characteristic of being jealous or envious of those people who have worked hard, sacrificed or had good fortune?

Are you also envious of people who have nicer homes, drive nicer cars and take better vacations? It's time to focus more on yourself and stop being so bitter. I know lots of entrepreneurs who have sacrificed, taken risks and who have succeeded and yes, some who have failed. I, for one, look up to those individuals.

Sure, you can think of an example where it seems a person who is undeserving of the wealth he or she possesses. Take, for example, Paris Hilton. Sure, she is a bubblehead. She didn't even graduate from high school; she dropped out her junior year. Sure, she contributes nothing of any worth to society. But it still has nothing to do with you. She was just fortunate to be born with the right last name.

But for every Paris Hilton there are thousands of individuals who have worked hard and made sound choices to get where they are today, and yes, have probably accumulated a sizeable amount of wealth as a result. Good for them.

Who are you to decide how much that person should earn or how much you think he or she should be allowed to accumulate or inherit? Well, you say, "the rich can afford to pay more." That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Take Bill Gates, for example. Yes, he is worth a lot, but do any of you have any idea of the size of the industry he created, the number of jobs and the amount of wealth he is responsible for? I thought America was supposed to be the land of opportunity. Maybe Mr. Gates shouldn't pay any taxes at all. And look at all the good things he does for charity, education and other such causes.

Even though the statistics will fall on deaf, liberal, leftist ears, they are worth repeating. The top 1 percent are responsible for 38.2 percent of all personal income taxes paid (tax year 2008 statistics). The top 5 percent pay a total of 58.72 percent. Isn't that enough?

On the other hand, the bottom 50 percent of AGI taxpayers pay only 2.7 percent of the total. Should they decide how much someone else should pay? They are getting all the freedoms, all the liberties, and all the opportunities available in this great country of ours and are paying a ridiculously small amount or nothing for these privileges. I'll say it again; stop being envious.

You don't think the federal government taking 35 percent of every dollar earned is enough? Come on, folks, get real, that's enough. As a matter of fact, it's way too much.

The problem is on the spending side of the equation. Hopefully, with the new Congress and the 2012 elections coming up in less than two years, we can put a stop to the spending hemorrhaging going on that the current administration and Congress is responsible for. For the next two years I will be proud to be the party of "no" if it means stopping the Obama socialist free-spending, big-government agenda dead in its tracks.

One more tiresome issue. I can take a second-grader and tell him that tax rates are going to be the same this year as they were the previous year. He certainly wouldn't see that as a tax cut for the rich. And the libs say these "tax cuts" will create an additional $700 billion deficit in our budgets. Only the mind of a leftist liberal thinks this way. The problem is that the Democrat-controlled Congress has spent the money before the issue was resolved.

I wish I had enough space to talk about the equally ridiculous notion of taxing the rich, mean corporations. Who do you think ends up paying all the corporation taxes? You do.

It has been estimated that 22 percent of the price we pay for consumer products represents embedded taxes. Our corporate tax rates are already among the highest in the industrial world. Corporations aren't relocating overseas because of greed. The government's burdensome regulations, unions and high tax rates are chasing them away. Come on, libs, think before you speak. Get on The Right Side.

Tom Sears is a local professor of accounting in Oneonta. He can be reached at searsthomas16@gmail.com. His column appears every other week. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/tomsears.

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